Synthesis of AcGGM Polysaccharide Hydrogels
Sammanfattning: Lignocellulosic biomass is believed to serve a prominent role in tomorrow’s sustainable energy and material development. Among the polysaccharide fractions of lignocellulosic biomass, the potential of hemicelluloses as a valuable material resource is increasingly recognized. Thanks to their hydrophilic structure, hemicelluloses are suitable substrates for hydrogel design. The work summarized in this thesis aims to develop feasible strategies for the conversion of O-acetyl galactoglucomannan (AcGGM), an ample hemicellulose in softwood, into hydrogels. Within this framework, four synthetic pathways targeting the formation of crosslinked hydrogel networks from pure or unrefined AcGGM fractions were developed. Aqueous AcGGM-rich and lignin-containing side-stream process liquors of forest industry, known as softwood hydrolysates (SWHs) were formulated into highly swellable hydrogels by: i) allyl-functionalization of AcGGM chains of crude SWH to obtain a viable precursor for hydrogel synthesis via free-radical crosslinking, ii) directly incorporating unmodified SWH fractions into semi-interpenetrating polymer networks (semi-IPNs). SWH hydrogels and semi-IPNs were characterized with appreciable maximum swelling ratios of Qeq = 170 and Qeq = 225, respectively. Rapid crosslinking of AcGGM through thiol-click chemistry was addressed by first imparting thiol functionality onto pure AcGGM chains in a one-pot procedure. The thiolated AcGGM proved to be a suitable substrate for the synthesis of hemicellulose hydrogels via thiol-ene and thiol Michael addition reactions. Finally, sequential full IPNs were developed by subjecting single network hydrogels of pure AcGGM to a second network formation. IPNs obtained through either free radical crosslinking or thiol-ene crosslinking exhibited higher shear storage moduli than their single network counterparts.
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