Preparation of TiO2-loaded electrospun fibers of polylactide/poly(vinylpyrrolidone) blends for use as catalysts in epoxidation of unsaturated oils
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Nanofibers of polylactide (PLA)/poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) blends, loaded with TiO2 nanoparticles, have been prepared by an electrospinning method. The electrospun fiber mats were characterized by ATR-FTIR, X-ray diffraction (XRD), SEM, EDX, and UV-visible spectroscopy to examine structures, functional groups, crystallinity, surface morphology, and UV absorptivity. It is clearly observed that TiO2 particles are embedded on the filaments. All PLA-based spun fibers are completely amorphous in nature. The surface morphology of those blended with PVP is smoother and more uniform than the corresponding samples without PVP. Neat PLA fibers show a UV absorption band at around 200 nm, whereas the fibers loaded with TiO2 nanoparticles show an additional absorption band covering the 200–380-nm region. Photo-degradation of the fiber samples are conducted in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) under UVA light. The results indicate that the PVP component dissolves into the PBS solution, and the PLA matrix degrades as a function of time. The fibers are then applied as a catalytic system for epoxidation of unsaturated sunflower oil (SFO), for use as additives or plasticizers for biopolymers, employing a performic acid oxidizing agent. The fibers, especially those containing PVP, can effectively enhance the epoxidation yield of oils with a slow rate of undesirable side reactions, which break ester bonds of triglycerides to generate free fatty acids.
KeywordsPolylactide Poly(vinylpyrrolidone) TiO2 Electrospinning Degradation Epoxidation Nanofibers Nanostructured catalyst
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Research University (NRU) grant, provided by The Office of Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and the Center of Excellence in Materials and Plasma Technology (CoE M@P Tech), Thammasat University, Thailand. P.S. gratefully acknowledges financial support from Thammasat University Research Fund year 2554. B.N. thanks the support from the Excellent Foreign scholarship (EFS) program provided by SIIT.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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