(227c) Spectroscopic Analysis of Glycerol Polyesters with Cellulose for Biocomposite Materials

Ayton, E., University of Georgia, USDA-ARS
Bansod, B., New Mexico State University

The development of glycerol polyesters that do not require additional solvents or catalysts provides a renewable biopolymer synthesized from sustainable sources such as glycerol and a polyfunctional acid, e. g., citric acid. Glycerol is an inexpensive byproduct of biodiesel production while citric acid is produced commercially through fermentation. Previous studies showed the addition of natural fibers increased tensile strength of glycerol polyester biocomposites. This study investigated the influence of microcrystalline cellulose on the structure of the glycerol polyesters. Infrared spectra were collected on glycerol polyester formulations containing microcrystalline cellulose at 0.8, 2.1, 4.2, 8.3, 10, 13, and 17 g cellulose/100 g polymer. These spectra were analyzed using chemometric software (Unscrambler, Camo Software, Oslo, Norway) by principle component analysis (PCA), soft independent modeling of class analogy (SIMCA), and discriminant analysis (DA). Results of the PCA showed a clear distinction between samples without cellulose and samples with increasing levels of cellulose. This approach provides a rapid and nondestructive method to characterize the cellulose content in these materials which have the potential to replace petrochemical derived polymers in the next generation of biocomposite materials.