(189t) Screening of Bio-Based Plasticizers for Poly(vinyl chloride) and Poly(lactic acid) Via Atomistic Simulations | AIChE

(189t) Screening of Bio-Based Plasticizers for Poly(vinyl chloride) and Poly(lactic acid) Via Atomistic Simulations


Balçik, M. - Presenter, Istanbul Technical University
Özeren, H. D., Istanbul Technical University
Ahunbay, M. G., Istanbul Technical University
Elliott, J. R., The University of Akron
There is a growing concern for the toxicity of industrial polymer plasticizers to humans. Especially, phthalate derivatives are very common plasticizers and exhibit toxic effects by degradation. These plasticizers are particularly widely used in the processing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). On the other hand, bio-based polyesters have attracted much attention due to their biodegradability and biocompatibility that offer clear advantages for both customers and environment. Polylactic acid (PLA) is an attractive candidate for replacing petrochemical polymers because it is from renewable resources. However, PLA needs to improve some properties by an inclusion of additives to use widely in industrial scale.

In our study, various bio-based molecules with potential to replace phthalate derivative plasticizers for PVC and PLA have been modeled by employing atomistic scale simulations. Our approach depends on molecular dynamic simulations to determine polymer/plasticizer interactions and observe plasticization effects via the lowering of glass transition temperature (Tg). Structural stability was evulated by solubility behavior of plasticizers in polymer and to describe Tg values and volumetric behavior of polymer/plasticizer mixtures, pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) relationship was used. Selected bio-based molecules including levulinic acid esters, succinic acid esters, oleate esters, dioctyl adipate and for comparison one of the phthalate derivative and acetyl tributyl citrate were constructed with TRAPPE-UA force field, were optimized and their densities similar to literature were obtained. Then, the atactic PVC homopolymer chains consisting of 150 monomers with equal fractions of meso and racemic diads distributed randomly along the chain were constructed based on the Generalized Amber Force Field (GAFF). Amorphous PLA model was constructed as PLLA consisting of 150 monomers with PLAFF3 force field. Tg and densities of pure PVC and PLA were determined as 344 K and 1.38±0.01 g/cm3 for PVC, 357 K and 1.211±0.01 g/cm3 for PLA. Polymer/plasticizer structures contained 10% to 30% plasticizer by weight to predict the performance of the plasticizers. Bio-based derivative esters, including levulinic acid esters and succinic acid, were also constructed with different substituents in the ester groups to observe chain length effect on plasticization.

The variation of glass transition temperatures the polymer was investigated and compared as a function of plasticizer type and content by simulating PVT relationship and stability of the polymer/plasticizer mixtures were compared by calculated solubility values. The compatibility of plasticizers was calculated through the cohesive energy densities of the systems and Flory Huggins interaction parameters were obtained by interpolation from energy-volume fraction plots.

This work was supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Grant# 114M178) and the Scientific Projects Unit of Istanbul Technical University (Grant# MGA-2017-40714).