About this Research Topic
The Research Topic on biodegradable matrices and composites is focused on the preparation and characterization of biodegradable polymeric matrices and their composites. The topic also covers material design, as well as theoretical and numerical modelling from nano-, micro-, to macroscaled levels. Both conventional biodegradable polymers and related bio-based composites, and more recent bio-nanocomposites reinforced with nanoparticles and nanofillers, will be covered to address various aspects including but not limited to their mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties, biodegradability, environmental sustainability, renewability and recyclability, limitations, and applications in building construction, automobiles, medical devices, and material packaging.
The term biodegradable composites comprise a wide range of at least two-phase hybrid materials in which either fillers or matrix or both must be chosen from biodegradable sources. In most biocomposites, fillers as the minority phase act as the reinforcements. However, with respect to polymer blends, the minority phase often plays a different role as impact modifiers or plasticizers/compatibilizers, as opposed to their drug carrier status in medical applications. Particular precautions should always be taken in the case of composites containing synthetic polymers as matrices, whose biodegradability, biocompatibility, and/or environmental impact may be rather questionable. On the other hand, composites containing biopolymers as matrices can be fine-tuned to exhibit good tensile, impact and, creep properties, in spite of lower resistance to moisture leading to poor mechanical performance at high humidity or aqueous conditions.
The applications of biodegradable polymers and composites are broad. The attention in the field of real applications is focused mostly on material packaging, but automobiles, construction, and agriculture should also be addressed. As for medical applications, biodegadable matrices and composites are used mostly due to their tunable biodegradability, which is often combined with controlled and localized drug release.
The main objective of this Research Topic is to give an overview of recent advances in the field of biodegradable matrices and composites and their processing-structure-property relationships at the nano, micro, and macro scales. Biodegradable and ecofriendly materials have attracted increasingly high attention from a majority of polymer and composite researchers and manufactures as they fit well in the increasingly urgent global sustainable development policy to significantly reduce non-recyclable plastic wastes. A thorough understanding of both advantages and limitations of bio-degradable matrices and composite materials is the key to their reasonable, precisely targeted, and effective applications in order to benefit worldwide communities.
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