Image: European Coatings
Aim of a new study was the development of water-borne polyurethane-ureas added with plant extracts. The scientists examined different incorporation routes and their influence on particle size, thermal, mechanical and antibacterial properties.
Polyurethane-ureas are a versatile family of polymers which can be employed in a wide range of applications. Among them, water-borne polyurethane-urea (WBPUU) dispersions are gaining relevance in the field of environmentally-friendly products since their productive process adopts green synthesis routes, avoiding the use of organic solvents. Furthermore, their waterborne character can be exploited to incorporate several water compatible ingredients able to confer functional properties to the final materials. Among them, plant extracts, which are known to have relevant bioactivities, can be viewed as interesting candidates.
Therefore two extracts known to present antimicrobial activity (Melissa officinalis L. and Salvia officinalis L.) were obtained by the infusion method and incorporated into the WBPUU (1, 3 and 5 wt%) following different incorporation routes comprising its adding during different phases of the productive process (post-, in-situ and pre- methods). Thereafter films were prepared by solvent-casting and characterized from the viewpoint of physicochemical, thermal, mechanical, thermomechanical and antibacterial properties and morphologically.
Enhancing the antimicrobial characteristics
The studied incorporation routes resulted in different intercalation mechanisms that varied from extract positioned among the polyurethane-urea nanoparticles (post-method) to extract partially embedded inside them (in-situ and pre-methods), which produced stiffening or flexibilizing effects in the produced films, enhancing in general the antimicrobial characteristics of films after 4 days of incubation comparing with base WBPUU, especially when the extract is embedded.