Lignin valorization by forming thermally stimulated shape memory copolymeric elastomers—Partially crystalline hyperbranched polymer as crosslinks



Lignin based thermal-responsive elastomers were produced by a melt polycondensation reaction with a long alkyl chain hyperbranched poly(ester-amine-amide) (B3-A2-CB31). The effect of lignin content on elastomers properties was investigated. The thermal and mechanical properties of the copolymers were characterized by DMA, DSC, and TGA. The morphology of the copolymer was examined by SEM. Tensile properties were dominated by HBP <25% lignin content while lignin dominated >25% content. The copolymers glass transition temperature (Tg) increased with lignin content. The elastomer with 30% lignin content demonstrated optimal mechanical properties (tensile strength 5.3 MPa, Young's modulus 8.9 MPa, strain at break 301%, and toughness 1.03 GPa). Thermally stimulated dual shape memory effects (SME) of the copolymers were quantified by cyclic thermomechanical tests. The transition temperature (Ttrans) of the polymer was able to be controlled (room to body temperature) by varying the amount of lignin added which broadens the range to medical applications. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41103.