One of the key requirements in semi-crystalline polyesters, synthetic or bio-based, is the control on crystallization rate and crystallinity. One of the limiting factors in the commercialization of the bio-based polyesters, for example polyhydroxyalkanoates synthesized by bacteria for energy storage purposes, is the slow crystallization rate. In this study, we show that by tailoring the molecular structure of oxalamide compounds, it is possible to dissolve these compounds in molten poly(hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), having a hydroxyvalerate co-monomer content of less than 2 mol%. Upon cooling the polymer melt, the homogeneously dispersed oxalamide compound crystallizes just below the melting temperature of the polymer. The phase-separated compound reduces the nucleation barrier of the polymer, thus enhancing the crystallization rate, nucleation density and crystallinity. The findings reported in this study provide a generic route for the molecular design of oxalamide-based compounds that can be used for enhancing nucleation efficiency of semi-crystalline bio-based polyesters.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Aug 20 2015|