Polymer Chemistry, 2019, vol 10, 48, pp. 6570-6579
Biomass-based polymers show promise for the mitigation of environmental issues associated with petroleum-derived commodity polymers; however, due to poor entanglement, many of these polymers typically lack mechanical strength and toughness. Herein, we report a facile approach to utilizing metalligand coordination to create physical crosslinking, and thus chain entanglements for plant oil-derived polymers. A series of soybean oil-derived copolymers containing a pendant acid group can be easily synthesized using free radical polymerization. The resulting chain architecture can be controlled through supramolecular interactions to produce bioplastics with enhanced thermomechanical properties. The metalligand coordination in this work can be varied by changing the metal lability and the density of metalligand bonds, allowing for further control of properties. The final bioplastics remain reprocessable and feature good thermoplastic and stimuli-responsive properties.