Theses and Dissertations


Saenz, Guery:

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Scott, Colleen

Committee Member

Cui, Xin

Committee Member

Kundu, Santanu

Committee Member

Montiel-Palma, Vicky

Committee Member

Wipf, David O.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Natural compounds have been the primary resource used to produce polymeric materials by humankind since the mid-1900s. Yet, progress in bio-based polymers from renewable feedstock has encountered some obstacles, mainly due to the low prices of petroleum-based monomers, compared to natural and sustainable materials. However, most commodity plastics are non-degradable materials, and solid plastic waste accumulation adversely affects the environment. As the world population is growing and demanding chemicals, energy, and plastics materials, polymer research is focusing on synthesizing bio-based and degradable polymers. Thus, biomass, a sustainable and inexpensive feedstock, is highly appropriate for designing alternative thermoplastics that are degradable to reduce the current environmental issues. In this dissertation, three different approaches were used to afford alternative thermoplastics to petroleum‐based commodities: bio-based poly(ether-amide)s, random aromatic copolyesters, and copoly(acetal triazole)s. In our first approach, two new lignin‐derived poly(ether‐amide)s (PEA)s were prepared. Their thermal properties showed high degradation temperature (Td) ranging from 330 °C to 380 °C, and glass transition temperature (Tg) between 100 °C and 120 °C. The chemical degradation studies revealed that the PEAs were degradable in 4 M H2SO4, HNO3, and TFA in 3 days. The second polymer group synthesized were semicrystalline bio-based aromatic copolyesters with tunable thermal properties. The thermal analysis of these copolyesters revealed high Td (413 °C to 446 °C) and Tg and Tm ranging from –36 °C to 67 °C and 60 °C to 267 °C, respectively. Their crystallization behavior showed a dependence on the comonomer composition, exhibiting a pseudo-eutectic region. Finally, furfural- and benzaldehyde-based copoly(acetal triazole)s (Td range 280–340 °C) were prepared by click polymerization at room temperature. Preliminary results showed that furfural-based copoly(acetal triazole)s were susceptible to hydrolytic degradation under neutral conditions after only 8 days at 40 °C. Overall, degradable and bio-based polymers were successfully synthesized as a potential thermoplastic alternative for packaging applications.