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Eco-friendly polymers for food packaging, green building and coating applications

Keywords: biodegradability, mechanical properties, barrier properties, structure-properties relationships
Fig. 1 Examples of polymers obtained by biomass (figure by A. Celli)

This research field is mainly focused on the synthesis and characterization of novel bio-based polymers and copolymers which offer physicochemical properties suitable for the desired application. An alternative approach consists in the chemical modification of commercially available polymers to make them attractive for different uses.

Regardless of the synthetic approach adopted, the main goal is to find out structure-properties relationships of main interest for designing a material which completely fits the requested specifications. As an example, green food packaging materials must accomplish basic requirements to be an ideal candidate for food, which includes barrier properties (water vapor, gases, light and aroma), optical properties (transparency), strength, welding and molding properties, disposal requirements, antistatic properties and, above all, strictly follow food safety.

Copolymerization as well as physical and/or reactive blending approach are an effective way of achieving a deliverable combination of properties, which are often absent in single component polymers. Moreover, the final properties of the material can be favorably modified, depending on the kind, relative amount, distribution and architecture of the comonomeric units or, in the case of mixture, by properly varying the homopolymers and blend composition. The choice of the monomers to be used in the polymerization process as well as of the comonomeric unit to be introduced along the polymeric chain of the parent homopolymer will be made on the basis of the requirements that the materials have to satisfy.

The so synthesized polymers are fully and deeply characterized both using the technology available in the DICAM labs and through collaborations with other research groups.

Main publications

Gioia C., Banella M.B., Marchese P., Vannini M., Colonna M., Celli A. (2016). Advances in the synthesis of bio-based aromatic polyesters: novel copolymers derived from vanillic acid and epsilon- caprolactone. Polymer Chemistry 7, 5396-

Gioia C., Banella M.B., Vannini M., Celli A., Colonna M., Caretti D. (2015). Resorcinol: a potentially bio-based building block for the preparation of sustainable polyesters. European Polymer Journal 73, 38-49.

Genevose L., Lotti N., Gazzano M., Siracusa V., Dalla RosaM., Munari A. (2016) Novel biodegradable aliphatic polyesters based on poly(butylene succinate)containing thioetherlinkages for sustainable food packaging applications. Polymer Degradation and Stability132, 191, 201.

Fabbri M., Soccio M., Gigli M., Guidotti G., Gamberini R., Gazzano M., Siracusa V., Rimini B., Lotti N., Munari A. (2016) Design of fully aluphatic multiblock poly(ester urethane)s displaying thermoplastic elastomeric properties. Polymer83, 154-161.

Soccio M., Costa M., Lotti N., Gazzano M., Siracusa V., Salatelli E., Manaresi P., Munari A. (2016) Novel fully biobased poly(butylene 2,5- furanoate/diglicolate) copolymers containing ether linkages: structure-properties relationships. European Polymer Journal 81, 397-412.

Vannini M., Marchese P., Celli A., Lorenzetti C. (2015). Fully biobased poly(propylene 2,5- furandicarboxylate) for packaging applications: excellent barrier properties as a function of the crystallinity. Green Chemistry 17, 4162-4166.

G. Totaro, L. Cruciani, M. Vannini, G. Mazzola, D. Di Gioia, A. Celli, L. Sisti (2014). Synthesis of castor oil derived polyesters with antimicrobial activity. European Polymer Journal 56, 174-184.

Gioia C., Vnnini M., Marchese P., Minesso A., Cavalieri R., Colonna M., Celli A. (2014). Sustainable polyestersfor powder coating applicationsfrom recycled PET, isosorbide and succinic acid. Green Chemistry16, 1807-1815.

M. Soccio, N. Lotti, M. Gigli, L. Finelli, M. Gazzano, A. Munari. (2012). Reactive blending of poly(butylene succinate) and poly(triethylenesuccinate): characterization of the copolymers obtained. POLYMER INTERNATIONAL. vol. 61, pp. 1163 - 1169 ISSN: 0959- 8103.

M. Gigli, N. Lotti, M. Gazzano, L. Finelli, A. Munari. (2012). Novel eco-friendly random copolyesters of poly(butylene succinate) containing ether-linkages. REACTIVE & FUNCTIONAL POLYMERS. vol. 72, pp. 303 - 310 ISSN: 1381-5148. M.

Soccio, N. Lotti, L. Finelli, M. Gazzano, A. Munari. (2010). (2-Hydroxy isobutyric) acid containing poly(glycolic acid): structure-properties relationship. JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE, PART B: POLYMER PHYSICS. vol. 48, pp. 1901 - 1910 ISSN: 0887-6266.

C. Berti, A. Celli, P. Marchese, E. Marianucci, S. Sullalti, G. Barbiroli (2010). Environmentalfriendly copolyesters containing 1,4-cyclohexane dicarboxylate units: 1. Relationships between chemical structure and thermal properties. MACROMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS. vol. 211, pp. 1559 - 1571 ISSN: 1022-1352.

S. Commereuc, H. Askanian, V. Verney, A. Celli, P. Marchese (2010). About durability of biodegradable polymers: Structure/Degradability relationships. MACROMOLECULAR SYMPOSIA vol. 296, pp. 378 - 387 ISSN: 1022-1360.

C. Berti, A. Celli, P. Marchese, G. Barbiroli, F. Di Credico, V. Verney, S. Commereuc, (2009). Novel copolyesters based on poly(alkylene dicarboxylate) s: 2. Thermal behavior and biodegradation of fully aliphatic random copolymers containing 1,4-cyclohexylene rings. EUROPEAN POLYMER JOURNAL. vol. 45, pp. 2402 - 2412 ISSN: 0014-3057.

M. Soccio, N. Lotti, L. Finelli, M. Gazzano, A. Munari. (2008). Influence of transeterification reactions on the miscibility and thermal properties of poly(butylene/diethylene succinate) copolymers. EUROPEAN POLYMER JOURNAL. vol. 44, pp. 1722 - 1732 ISSN: 0014-3057.

C. Berti, A. Celli, P. Marchese, G. Barbiroli, F. Di Credico, V. Verney, S. Commereuc (2008). Novel copolyesters based on poly(alkylene dicarboxylate) s: 1. Thermal behavior and biodegradation of aliphatic-aromatic random copolymers. EUROPEAN POLYMER JOURNAL. vol. 44, pp. 3650 - 3661 ISSN: 0014-3057.

C. Berti, A. Celli, P. Marchese, E. Marianucci, G. Barbiroli, F. Di Credico (2008). Influence of molecular structure and stereochemistry of the 1,4- cyclohexylene ring on thermal and mechanical behaviour of Poly(butylene 1,4- cyclohexanedicarboxylate), MACROMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY and PHYSICS. vol. 209, pp.1333 - 1344 ISSN: 1022-1352.

M. Soccio, N. Lotti, L. Finelli, M. Gazzano, A. Munari. (2007). Aliphatic poly(propylene dicarboxylate) s: effect of chain length on thermal properties and crystallization kinetics. POLYMER. vol. 48, pp. 3125 - 3136 ISSN: 0032-3861.