Multifunctional Bio-Ecocompatible Materials Laboratory

In the Multifunctional Bio-Ecocompatible Materials Laboratory our mission is understanding and controlling, by careful processing, structure properties relations in polymers and composites with particular interests to rubber toughening, interphase adhesion, yielding behaviour, rheology, fracture mechanics and micromechanical modelling.

More specifically the starting point is tuning the extrusion processing parameters to achieve blends or biocomposites with a uniform distribution of dispersed phase into the polymeric matrix.

Moreover, our issues are also:

  • To study how nucleating agents can modify the crystallinity of biopolymers;
  • To correlate the toughening mechanism of brittle polymers to micromechanical deformation processes by dilatometric analysis;
  • To explore the correlations between the ductile-to-brittle fracture behaviour of polymers and speed test and temperature parameters.
  • To develop new analytical model able to combine triaxial mechanical properties with testing conditions, limiting the number of experimental tests.

A lab-extruder, a pilot-scale twin-screw extruder, a flat die extruder, an injection molding machine and a blown film extruder line are some of our facilities to obtain granules, films or sheet with improved mechanical and thermal properties with respect to the current biopolymers.

Final objective is to overcome the current gap in performances between traditional plastic and sustainable (biobased, bio-recyclable, etc.) desirable solutions through tailored theoretical analysis followed by an efficient experimental work.

PROCESSING
THERMAL & MECHANICAL TESTING

Research group
Andrea Lazzeri, Full Professor
Maria Beatrice Coltelli, Associate Professor
Patrizia Cinelli, Associate Professor
Francesca Signori, Assistant Professor
Serena Danti, Assistant Professor
Laura Aliotta, Post-Doc
Vito Gigante, Post-Doc
Bahareh Azimi, Post-Doc
Roberto D’Ambrosio, PhD Student
Luca Panariello, PhD Student
Ludovica Zingoni, administration
Silvia Citernesi, administration

External collaborations:
www.planetbioplastics.com
Spin-off Company of Pisa University, Bio-based Industry member with the aim of developing environmentally friendly plastics for packaging and technical applications

Ilaria Canesi, R & D
Nicola De Mattia, R & D
David Conti, R & D


Funding:

  • FORBIOPLAST (FP7-212239): Forest resource sustainability through bio-based composite development.
  • EVOLUTION (FP7-314744): The Electric Vehicle revOLUTION enabled by advanced materials highly hybridized into lightweight components.
  • BIONTOP (H2020-837761): Novel packaging films and textiles with tailored end of life and performance based on bio-based copolymers and coatings integration and dismantling providing a reduced life cycle cost logic.
  • ECOAT (H2020-837863): ECO sustainable multifunctional bio-based COATings with enhanced performance and end of life options.
  • AGRIMAX (BBI GA 720720): Agri & food waste valorisation co-ops based on flexible multi-feedstocks biorefinery processing technologies for new high added value applications.
  • POLYBIOSKIN (H2020 GA 745839): High performance functional bio-based polymers for skin-contact products in biomedical, cosmetic and sanitary
  • NANO-CATHEDRAL (H2020-646178) Nanomaterials for conservation of European architectural heritage developed by research on characteristic lithotypes.
  • WHEYLAYER (FP7-218340) Whey protein-coated plastic films to replace expensive polymers and increase recyclability.
  • BIOBOARD (FP7-315313) Development of sustainable proteinbased paper and paperboard coating systems to increase the recyclability of food and beverage packaging materials.

Main publications:

  • A. Lazzeri, C.B. Bucknall, Dilatational bands in rubber-toughened polymers, J. Mater. Sci. 28 (1993) 6799–6808. doi:10.1007/BF00356433.
  • L. Aliotta, A. Lazzeri, A proposal to modify the Kelly-Tyson equation to calculate the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) of composites with low aspect ratio fibers, Compos. Sci. Technol. 186 (2020) 107920.
  • A. Lazzeri, V.T. Phuong, Dependence of the Pukanszky’s interaction parameter B on the interface shear strength (IFSS) of nanofiller- and short fiber-reinforced polymer composites, Compos. Sci. Technol. 93 (2014) 106–113.
  • V. Gigante, I. Canesi, P. Cinelli, M. Beatrice Coltelli, A. Lazzeri, Rubber toughening of Polylactic acid (PLA) with Poly (butylene adipate-co- terephthalate) (PBAT): mechanical properties, fracture mechanics and analysis of brittle – ductile behavior while varying temperature and test speed, Eur. Polym. J. (2019).
  • V. Gigante, L. Aliotta, V.T. Phuong, M.B. Coltelli, P. Cinelli, A. Lazzeri, Effects of waviness on fiber-length distribution and interfacial shear strength of natural fibers reinforced composites, Compos. Sci. Technol. 152 (2017) 129–138
  • V.T. Phuong, M.B. Coltelli, P. Cinelli, M. Cifelli, S. Verstichel, A. Lazzeri, Compatibilization and property enhancement of poly(lactic acid)/polycarbonate blends through triacetin-mediated interchange reactions in the melt, Polymer (Guildf). 55 (2014) 4498–4513.
  • L. Aliotta, P. Cinelli, M.B. Coltelli, A. Lazzeri, Rigid filler toughening in PLA-Calcium Carbonate composites: Effect of particle surface treatment and matrix plasticization, Eur. Polym. J. 113 (2019) 78–88.
  • L. Aliotta, P. Cinelli, M.B. Coltelli, M.C. Righetti, M. Gazzano, A. Lazzeri, Effect of nucleating agents on crystallinity and properties of poly (lactic acid) (PLA), Eur. Polym. J. 93 (2017) 822–832.
  • A. Lazzeri, P. Cinelli T.W. Phuong, (WO 2013164743, Patent: Copolymers based on reactive polyesters and plasticisers for the manufacture of transparent, biodegradable packaging film