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  1. This paper is review with 119 references. Approaches to supplant currently used plastics with materials made from more sustainably-sourced monomers is one of the great contemporary challenges in sustainable chemistry. Fatty acids are attractive candidates as polymer precursors because they can be affordably produced on all inhabited continents, and they are also abundant as underutilized by-products of other industries. In surveying the array of synthetic approaches to convert fatty acids into polymers, those routes that produce organosulfur polymers stand out as being especially attractive from a sustainability standpoint. The first well-explored synthetic approach to fatty acid-derived organosulfur polymers employs the thiol-ene click reaction or the closely-related thiol-yne variation. This approach is high-yielding under mild conditions with up to 100% atom economy and high functional group tolerance. More recently, inverse vulcanization has been employed to access high sulfur-content polymers by the reaction of fatty acid-derived olefins with elemental sulfur. This approach is attractive not only because it is theoretically 100% atom economical but also because elemental sulfur is itself an underutilized by-product of fossil fuel refining. The thiol-ene, inverse vulcanization, and mechanistically-related thiol-yne and classic vulcanization are therefore discussed as promising routes to access polymers and composites from fatty acid-derived precursors.
  2. A simple approach to a high sulfur-content material from biomass-derived guaiacol and waste sulfur is introduced. This direct reaction of elemental sulfur with an anisole derivative lacking olefins or halogen leaving groups expands the monomer scope beyond existing routes to high sulfur-content materials.
  3. A review with 132 references. Societal and regulatory pressures are pushing industry towards more sustainable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, while the growing popularity of portable cordless electronic devices continues. These trends necessitate the ability to store large amounts of power efficiently in rechargeable batteries that should also be affordable and long-lasting. Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries have recently gained renewed interest for their potential low cost and high energy density, potentially over 2600 Wh kg−1. The current review will detail the most recent advances in early 2020. The focus will be on reports published since the last review on Li-S batteries. This review is meant to be helpful for beginners as well as useful for those doing research in the field, and will delineate some of the cutting-edge adaptations of many avenues that are being pursued to improve the performance and safety of Li-S batteries.
  4. Lignocellulosic biomass holds a tremendous opportunity for transformation into carbon-negative materials, yet the expense of separating biomass into its cellulose and lignin components remains a primary economic barrier to biomass utilization. Herein is reported a simple procedure to convert several biomass-derived materials into robust, recyclable composites through their reaction with elemental sulfur by inverse vulcanization, a process in which olefins are crosslinked by sulfur chains. In an effort to understand the chemistry and the parameters leading to the strength of these composites, sulfur was reacted with four biomass-derivative comonomers: (1) unmodified peanut shell powder, (2) allyl peanut shells, (3) ‘mock’ allyl peanut shells (a mixture containing independently-prepared allyl cellulose and allyl lignin), or (4) peanut shells that have been defatted by extraction of peanut oil. The reactions of these materials with sulfur produce the biomass–sulfur composites PSx , APSx , mAPSx and dfPSx , respectively, where x = wt% sulfur in the monomer feed. The influence of biomass : sulfur ratio was assessed for PSx and APSx . Thermal/mechanical properties of composites were evaluated for comparison to commercial materials. Remarkably, unmodified peanut shell flour can simply be heated with elemental sulfur to produce composites having flexural/compressive strengths exceeding those of Portland cement,more »an effect traced to the presence of olefin-bearing peanut oil in the peanut shells. When allylated peanut shells are used in this process, a composite having twice the compressive strength of Portland cement is attained.« less
  5. Fossil fuel refining produces over 70 Mt of excess sulfur annually from for which there is currently no practical use. Recently, methods to convert waste sulfur to recyclable and biodegradable polymers have been delineated. In this report, a commercial bisphenol A (BPA) derivative, 2,2′,5,5′-tetrabromo(bisphenol A) (Br4BPA), is explored as a potential organic monomer for copolymerization with elemental sulfur by RASP (radical-induced aryl halide-sulfur polymerization). Resultant copolymers, BASx (x = wt% sulfur in the monomer feed, screened for values of 80, 85, 90, and 95) were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic mechanical analysis. Analysis of early stage reaction products and depolymerization products support proposed S–Caryl bond formation and regiochemistry, while fractionation of BASx reveals a sulfur rank of 3–6. Copolymers having less organic cross-linker (5 or 10 wt%) in the monomer feed were thermoplastics, whereas thermosets were accomplished when 15 or 20 wt% of organic cross-linker was used. The flexural strengths of the thermally processable samples (>3.4 MPa and >4.7 for BAS95 and BAS90, respectively) were quite high compared to those of familiar building materials such as portland cement (3.7 MPa). Furthermore, copolymer BAS90 proved quite resistant to degradation by oxidizing organic acid, maintaining its full flexuralmore »strength after soaking in 0.5 M H2SO4 for 24 h. BAS90 could also be remelted and recast into shapes over many cycles without any loss of mechanical strength. This study on the effect of monomer ratio on properties of materials prepared by RASP of small molecular aryl halides confirms that highly cross-linked materials with varying physical and mechanical properties can be accessed by this protocol. This work is also an important step towards potentially upcycling BPA from plastic degradation and sulfur from fossil fuel refining.« less