Design of biodegradable polymers for packaging application
Biodegradable polymers degrade once exposed to suitable environmental conditions. Using Biodegradable polymers as packing material would decrease the amount of plastic waste causing land pollution, for example: Plastic waste led to the formation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) (Estimated to be 1.6 million kilometers Squared in size). Packing materials need to have certain properties in order to be viable. Some of the important properties include tensile strength, degradation rate, and glass transition temperature etc. The purpose of this research is to design a biodegradable polymer that will have optimal properties for packaging applications. Here, it was achieved by computer-aided molecular design (CAMD). This method involves linking the relevant properties to the structure of the repeat units of known biodegradable polymers to create quantitative structure property relationships (QSPRs). Molecular descriptors, connectivity indices were used to achieve the QSPRs. The problem was then formulated as an optimization problem involving the QSPRs, constraints and objective function. It was solved using Tabu Search algorithm with the goal of minimizing the objective function. The latter was the difference between the target property values and property of the newly built repeat unit of the biodegradable polymer.