DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1105.2014.13321

Acta Polymerica Sinica (高分子学报) 2014/014:2 PP.276-285

Molecular Mechanism Involved in Biodegradation of Castor Oil Based Plastic Foam

The castor oil was converted into maleic acid ester (i.e. maleated castor oil, MACO) by the reaction with maleic anhydride. Afterwards, the resultant MACO was free-radically copolymerized with reactive diluents (styrene, St) and cured to form foam plastics through conventional foaming technique. By changing MACO/St ratio, mechanical properties and aerobic biodegradability of MACO foams can be easily adjusted. To understand the biodegradation mechanism of the castor oil based plastic foam, various characterization techniques were employed in a systematic way. Compost tests in laboratory soil combined with molecular characterizations demonstrated that the bio-foam has acquired excellent biodegradability. Destruction of the network structure of the castor oil based polymer resulted from fission of ester groups due to attack of microorganisms. The final product of compost tests proved to be carbon dioxide. Inoculation of fungi on the castor oil based polymer further revealed that the vegetable oil acted as carbon source of growth of aspergillus niger. Under the catalysis of lipase, castor oil, MACO and its foam were hydrolyzed to produce fatty acids. The results of different degradation tests matched each other, which not only confirmed biodegradability of MACO plastics, but also preliminarily revealed molecular mechanism of the biodegradation process.

Key words:Castor oil, Foam plastics, Biodegradability, Molecular mechanism

ReleaseDate:2014-07-21 17:05:31

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