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Tuning Mechanical Properties of Biobased Polymers by Supramolecular Chain Entanglement

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journal contribution
posted on 13.11.2019, 16:14 by Meghan E. Lamm, Lingzhi Song, Zhongkai Wang, Md Anisur Rahman, Benjamin Lamm, Lin Fu, Chuanbing Tang
A variety of biobased polymers have been derived from diverse natural resources. However, the mechanical properties of some of these polymers are inferior due to low chain entanglement. We report a facile strategy termed “supramolecular chain entanglement”, which utilizes supramolecular interactions to create physical cross-linking and entanglements for polymers with long pendent fatty chains. The ensuing bioplasticsprepared by mixing copolymers, composed of a plant oil-derived methacrylate with an acid-containing comonomer as a hydrogen-bonding donorand poly­(4-vinylpyridine) as an entangling chain with a hydrogen-bonding acceptor show tunable mechanical strength and toughness. These polymer blends, consisting of ≥90 wt % sustainable sources, exhibit marked improvement in thermomechanical properties compared with the viscoelastic nature of the biobased homopolymers. Spectroscopic evidence and X-ray scattering substantiated the hydrogen-bonding interaction within the copolymers, while morphological and thermal characterization was performed to elucidate microstructures of biobased polymers.