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Eco-friendly Materials

Activities under this theme relate to the chemical and physico-chemical study of biopolymers and biobased polymers of plant origin (lignin, cellulose) or animal (collagen, gelatin), as well as promising biobased precursors (monomers derived from furan biomass, modified vegetable oils). These raw materials are not in competition with food. The objectives related to this axis are finding alternatives to polymers, resins and composites derived from petrochemicals, to develop sustainable processes for the preparation of such materials, to enhance certain compounds from plant biomass of different industrial sectors, to improve the properties of these new materials with fillers or natural fibers. It is also to find alternatives to the use of monomers or hardeners toxic and harmful to the environment. This work is in the context of development of a greener and more environmentally friendly chemistry. These compounds will be used in the industry of the future to replace raw materials from oil or impacted by new environmental constraints (i.e. REACH). These activities are supported by an expertise of the team in the synthesis and characterization of polymers, in the understanding of physical transitions involved in these macromolecules (crystallization, gelation, glass transition, vitrification) or complex chemical reactions involved (crosslinks disrupted by physical transitions) and kinetic aspects of these transformations that are highly dependent with macroscopic properties and morphology of the materials obtained. We also seek to understand and model the catalytic phenomena and micro- and nano- structuration effects induced by objects of various shapes and sizes (sheets of clay, silica nanoparticles, reinforced cellulose, etc.) introduced in these polymers (coll. J. Persello). New properties can also be induced by structuring alignment of particles in magnetic fields and control of polymerization (coll. G. Bossis).

The first nanocomposites were made from synthetic polymers and different nanofillers (clay, silica, carbon nanotubes). More recently, we have obtained original composites and hybrid organic-inorganic nanocomposites - some are fully bio-based - with highly improved thermal and mechanical performances. Due to the complexity of the studied systems, we work with original experimental techniques, see the Thermal, mechanical, and rheological analysis and Center for Micro & Nanorheometry platforms. A new method of data analysis has been developed. Combined with thermal analysis, rheometry, spectroscopic and morphological analysis it is possible to make a link between reactivity, structure, properties and highlight the role of some key factors, such as temperature, viscosity changes, interactions (nano)fillers-matrix and dispersion of particles at the nanoscale.

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