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Title: Durable, acid-resistant copolymers from industrial by-product sulfur and microbially-produced tyrosine
The search for alternative feedstocks to replace petrochemical polymers has centered on plant-derived monomer feedstocks. Alternatives to agricultural feedstock production should also be pursued, especially considering the ecological damage caused by modern agricultural practices. Herein, l -tyrosine produced on an industrial scale by E. coli was derivatized with olefins to give tetraallyltyrosine. Tetraallyltyrosine was subsequently copolymerized via its inverse vulcanization with industrial by-product elemental sulfur in two different comonomer ratios to afford highly-crosslinked network copolymers TTSx ( x = wt% sulfur in monomer feed). TTSx copolymers were characterized by infrared spectroscopy, elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). DMA was employed to assess the viscoelastic properties of TTSx through the temperature dependence of the storage modulus, loss modulus and energy damping ability. Stress–strain analysis revealed that the flexural strength of TTSx copolymers (>6.8 MPa) is more than 3 MPa higher than flexural strengths for previously-tested inverse vulcanized biopolymer derivatives, and more than twice the flexural strength of some Portland cement compositions (which range from 3–5 MPa). Despite the high tyrosine content (50–70 wt%) in TTSx , the materials show no water-induced swelling or water uptake after being submerged for 24 h. More impressively, TTSx copolymers more » are highly resistant to oxidizing acid, with no deterioration of mechanical properties even after soaking in 0.5 M sulfuric acid for 24 h. The demonstration that these durable, chemically-resistant TTSx copolymers can be prepared from industrial by-product and microbially-produced monomers via a 100% atom-economical inverse vulcanization process portends their potential utility as sustainable surrogates for less ecofriendly materials. « less
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Journal Name:
RSC Advances
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
31460 to 31465
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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