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Programming the Properties and Degradation of Sustainable Polymers

Prof. Stephen A. Miller
Prof. Stephen A. Miller
Department of Chemistry
University of Florida
Chemistry Building, Room 400
Organic Seminar

Main-chain and side-chain functionality are critical to polymeric thermal properties and degradation behavior.  This presentation will describe synthetic routes for polymerizing bioaromatics and other biogenic cyclics to yield polymers with high glass transition temperatures or high melting temperatures.  Some of these monomers are already present in common biomass sources, including vanillin, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and sinapic acid.  However, some monomers are not immediately available from biomass, but can be built via facile and scalable chemistry from other biogenic molecules.  These various novel thermoplastics will be discussed in the context of replacing specific fossil fuel-based packaging plastics.  The Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC, is led by the University of Florida and seeks to valorize Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard) into biofuels and higher value biorenewables. The carinata biomill can solve major challenges ranging from advanced aviation biofuels to natural food preservatives to bioplastic packaging.  Important bio-based chemicals from carinata include erucic acid (from the seed oil) and sinapic acid (from the seed meal).  Chemical strategies are explained for converting these bioproducts into Jet A fuel, food preservatives, and bioplastics with properties suitable for replacing polyethylene terephthalate or polystyrene.

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