Reactive extrusion and Eco-friendly processes for sustainable (Bio)polymeric materials

Research Group Leader : Dr. Fouad Laoutid

Phone :+32(0)65.55.54.78

Secretariat : +32(0)65.37.34.83

The main research activities conducted in this unit are focused on the development of functional (bio)polymeric-based materials through sustainable processes. Sustainable solvent free reactive melt-processing, such as reactive and enzymatic extrusion or solid-state condensation are used for:

  • Developing new (bio)polymeric materials from renewable building blocks.
  • Upgrading (bio)polymers properties by chemical modification (grafting functional groups, chain extension/branching, reactive plasticization, ….)
  • Compatibilization of (bio)polymer blends

Our goal is to develop new (bio)polymeric (nano)composites with specific functional properties such as:

  • Designing inherent flame retardant (bio)polymers.
  • Developing smart (bio)polymers, self-healing, shape memory, electro-stimulating properties, …
  • Tuning the biodegradability of natural polymers.
  • Enhancing (bio)polymers foamability and film-forming ability.
  • Upgrading properties of recycled polymers

Top selected papers

Hierarchical chemomechanical encoding of multiresponsive hydrogel actuators via 3D printing

Jérémy Odent, Sophie Vanderstappen, Antoniya Toncheva, Enzo Pichon, Thomas J. Wallin,  Kaiyang Wang, Robert F. Shepherd, Philippe Duboisa and Jean-Marie Raquez Abstract Inspired by nature, we herein demonstrate a family of multi-responsive hydrogel-based actuators that are encoded with anisotropic swelling behavior to provide rapid and controllable motion. Fabrication of the proposed anisotropy-encoded hydrogel actuators relies on the high resolution stereolithography 3D printing of functionally graded structures made of discrete layers having different volume expansion properties. Three separate synthetic strategies based on (i) asymmetrical distribution of a layer's surface area to volume ratio via mechanical design, (ii) crosslinking density via UV...
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Bilayer solvent and vapor-triggered actuators made of cross-linked polymer architectures via Diels–Alder pathways†

Antoniya Toncheva,  Bertrand Willocq, Farid Khelifa,  Olivier Douheret,  Pierre Lambert,  Philippe Dubois  and  Jean-Marie Raquez Abstract A simple and straightforward approach to produce solvent and vapor-based actuating materials is developed in this work. These actuators are based on rigidity gradients created in bilayer architectures made of reversibly cross-linked poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) networks into which functional nanofillers, i.e. multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), are incorporated using simple processing techniques. A key element of the bilayer functionality lies in, by taking advantage of thermo-reversible Diels–Alder reactions (between furfuryl and maleimide moieties), ensuring good adhesion between the layers. Thereby, the produced material instantaneously swells in an anisotropic way due to the rigidity gradient,...
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Ultra-stretchable ionic nanocomposites: from dynamic bonding to multi-responsive behavior

J. Odent,  J.-M. Raquez,  Ph. Dubois  and  E. P. Giannelis   Abstract Although multi-responsive materials have the potential to revolutionize a wide spectrum of technologies, the design of systems that combine a range of responses to a variety of different external changes without the associated property trade-offs has remained elusive. We herein demonstrate a new family of multi-responsive nanocomposites that leverage the dynamic and reversible nature of electrostatic interactions present in ionic systems with the reinforcement ability of nanoparticles in nanocomposites. This new design leads to a unique property profile that combines simultaneous improvements in stiffness, toughness and extensibility. In addition to their...
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Multiresponsive Shape Memory Blends and Nanocomposites Based on Starch

Sessini V, Raquez JM, Lo Re G, Mincheva R, Kenny JM, Dubois P, Peponi L   Abstract Smart multiresponsive bionanocomposites with both humidity- and thermally activated shape-memory effects, based on blends of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and thermoplastic starch (TPS) are designed. Thermo- and humidity-mechanical cyclic experiments are performed in order to demonstrate the humidity- as well as thermally activated shape memory properties of the starch-based materials. In particular, the induced-crystallization is used in order to thermally activate the EVA shape memory response. The shape memory results of both blends and their nanocomposites reflect the excellent ability to both humidity- and thermally activated recover of the initial...
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Healing by the Joule effect of electrically conductive poly(ester-urethane)/carbon nanotube nanocomposites†

B. Willocq,  R. K. Bose,  F. Khelifa,  S. J. Garcia,  Ph. Dubois  and  J.-M. Raquez    Abstract Recent demands for polymers with autonomous self-healing properties are being constantly raised due to the need for high-performance and reliable materials. So far, the advances in this field are limited to the production of self-healing materials requiring a high energy input. Therefore there is an urgent need to develop self-healing polymer systems, in which healing can be easily and specifically induced by external stimuli for economical and viable applications. In the current work we demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, the possibility to heal local macroscopic...
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