Macromolecular Research, Vol.31, No.2, 133-142, February, 2023
Effects of preparation routes on the physical and rheological properties of isosorbide-based thermoplastic polyurethanes
Biomass-derived isosorbide (ISB) is a promising alternative to petroleum-based monomers in industrial plastics. In this study, ISB-based thermoplastic polyurethanes (ISB-TPUs) were prepared using ISB as a biomass chain extender, and the effects of the preparation route on the structural and physical properties of the resultant polymers were investigated. Prepolymer methods were more suitable for obtaining the desired molecular weights (MWs) and physical properties of ISB-TPUs than the one-shot method. The presence of the solvent and catalyst in the prepolymer step had significant effects on the structural and physical properties of the resultant polymer. Among several prepolymer conditions, the solvent- and catalyst-free methods were the most suitable for preparing commercial-level ISB-TPUs, with number- and weight-average MWs (Mn and Mw) of 32,881 and 90,929 g mol−1, respectively, and a tensile modulus (E) and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 12.0 and 40.2 MPa, respectively. In comparison, the presence of a catalyst in the prepolymer step resulted in lower MWs and mechanical properties (81,033 g mol−1 and 18.3 MPa of Mw and UTS, respectively). The co-existence of the catalyst/solvent led to a further decline in the properties of ISB-TPUs (26,506 and 10.0 MPa of Mw and UTS, respectively). ISB-TPU prepared via the solvent- and catalyst-free methods exhibited remarkable elastic recovery when subjected to up to 1000% strain in mechanical cycling tests. Rheological characterization confirmed the thermo-reversible phase change (thermoplasticity) of the polymer.