Polymers from fatty acids: Poly(co-hydroxyl tetradecanoic acid) synthesis and physico-mechanical studies

Chen Liu, Fei Liu, Jiali Cai, U. Wenchun Xie, Timothy Edward Long, S. Richard Turner, Alan Lyons, Richard A. Gross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter describes the synthesis and physicomechanical properties of bioplastics prepared from methyl-hydroxytetradecanoic acid (Me-ω-OHC14), a new monomer available by a fermentation process using an engineered Candida tropicalis strain. Melt-condensation experiments were conducted using titanium tetraisopropoxide (Ti[OiPr]4) as a catalyst in a two stage polymerization (2h at 200 °C under N2,4h at 220 °C under 0.1 mmHg). Poly(ω-hydroxytetradecanoate), P(ω-OHC14), M W, determined by SEC-MALLS, increased from 53K to 110K as the Ti(OiPr)4 concentration increased from 50 to 300 ppm. By varying the polymerization conditions (catalyst concentration, reaction time, second-stage reaction temperature) a series of P(ω-OHC14) samples were prepared with Mw values from 53K to 140K. The synthesized polyesters with M w ranging from 53K to 140K were subjected to characterization by DSC, TGA, DMTA and tensile testing. Influences of P(ω-OHC14) molecular weight, melting point, and enthalpies of melting/crystallization on material tensile properties were explored. Cold-drawing tensile tests at room temperature for P(ω-OHC14) with MW 53K to 78K showed a brittle-to-ductile transition. In contrast, P(ω-OHC14) with Mw 53K undergoes brittle fracture. Increasing P(ω-OHC14) MW above 78K resulted in strain-hardening phenomenon and tough properties with elongation at break about 700% and true tensile strength about 50 MPa. Comparisons between HDPE and P(ω-OHC14) mechanical and thermal properties as a function of their respective molecular weights are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiobased Monomers, Polymers, and Materials
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780841227675
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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