Dissolution of styrene–butadiene block copolymers in biodiesel

Authors

  • Ying Zhang,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, 2035 Sweeney Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011-2230
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  • Surya K. Mallapragada,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, 2035 Sweeney Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011-2230
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  • Balaji Narasimhan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, 2035 Sweeney Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011-2230
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, 2035 Sweeney Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011-2230
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Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate the dissolution behavior of styrene–butadiene block copolymers in biodiesel with an eye toward developing a promising method of plastic waste disposal by burning them with engine fuel. The dissolution kinetics was investigated by high-throughput Fourier transform infrared microscopy, and the effect of the dissolution temperature on the kinetics was quantified. The activation energy of dissolution was estimated from the dissolution kinetics, and it was shown that the styrene–butadiene copolymers had higher activation energies than the neat polystyrene. The experimental studies were complemented by molecular dynamics simulations to calculate the Flory–Huggins parameters between styrene and butadiene polymers and methyl esters. The shear viscosity of the block copolymer solutions in biodiesel was measured to ascertain their suitability as fuel mixtures. Finally, the mechanical properties of the styrene–butadiene block copolymers were compared to that of poly(ethylene terephthalate). Together, these studies suggest that styrene–butadiene block copolymers may offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to poly(ethylene terephthalate). © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010

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