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Biomass-derived polymers and copolymers incorporating monolignols and their derivatives


Due to the importance of developing more sustainable commodity materials, this dissertation focuses on the synthesis and characterizarion of a series of polymers and copolymers from monolignols and other biomass components. The polymers described within were designed to feature a modular synthesis and were persued due to their structural similarities to commodity materials. Chapter 2 focuses on the synthetic development, thermal properties, and hydrolytic degradation of a series of monolignols-based poly(ester-amides) via interfacial polymerization with a monolignol-based ester dimer and aliphatic or aromatic diamines. These polymers were found to have differing thermal and degradation properties depending on the length (aliphatic) or structural (aromatic versus aliphatic) characteristics of the diamine utilized. Chapter 3 focuses on the development of the analogous monolignol-based poly(ether-amide) systems. These poly(ether-amide)s were synthesized used a monolignol-based ether dimer and aliphatic or aromatic diamines. As seen previously, the identity of the diamine linker played a role in the observed physical characteristics of the resulting polymers. Finally, Chapter 4 will focus on the development of a series of polymers from monolignols and citraconic anhydride as biologically-derived analogues to petroleum-based polystyrene-co-maleic anhydride and their use in polymer blends with commodity polymers. The monomers were polymerized using BF3Et2O as an initiator in cationic polymerization and the structure and physical properties of the resulting oligomers were then thoroughly studied. The oligomers were then used and studied in polymer blends with polystyrene and poly(lactic-acid). In summary, this dissertation focuses on the synthesis and study of several classes of polymeric materials generated directly from biomass components as chemical sources, with a focus on modularity and the tunability of observed properties.

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