Biodegradation and ageing of bio-based thermosetting resins from lactic acid
Sammanfattning: The need for replacing petroleum-based polymers has been increasing and bio-based polymers prove to be a suitable solution. The aim of this thesis was to synthesize bio-based resins with different chemical architectures to evaluate the effect of the structure on the properties and on their response to ageing and biodegradation. For this, three different bio-based thermoset resins have been synthesised by reacting one of three distinct core-molecules with lactic acid. The options of core-molecules chosen for this work were ethylene glycol, glycerol and pentaerythritol. Lactic acid was first reacted with a core-molecule by direct condensation, the resulting branched molecule was then end-functionalized with methacrylic anhydride. The amount of moles of lactic acid varied according to which core-molecule it was reacted with, but the chain length (n) was always maintained as three. Part of the samples were characterised by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and tensile test. DSC and TGA were used for determining the thermal behaviour. FT-IR was used to verify the first and second stage of the reaction and to ascertain the occurrence of the crosslinking reaction. Tensile test was done for investigation of mechanical properties. The ageing and biodegradation tests are useful to ascertain the material possible applications. Therefore, the samples that went through the process of ageing or biodegradation were also characterised in the end of the procedures to further check the effect of those processes on the specimens. The test results indicated that the PENTA/LA cured resin was the most stable thermally. The cured resin’s mechanical properties were similar to each other, so there was no comparison to make in this area. The samples proved to be affected by the biodegradation and the ageing processes, both in visual and structural aspects.
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