Temperature Responsive Copolymers Films of Polyether and Bio-Based Polyamide Loaded with Imidazolium Ionic Liquids for Smart Packaging Applications
Temperature-responsive materials are highly interesting for temperature-triggered applications such as drug delivery and smart packaging. Imidazolium Ionic Liquids (ILs), with a long side chain on the cation and a melting temperature of around 50 &deg;C, were synthetized and loaded at moderate amounts (up to 20 wt%) within copolymers of polyether and a bio-based polyamide via solution casting. The resulting films were analyzed to assess their structural and thermal properties, and the gas permeation changes due to their temperature-responsive behavior. The splitting of FT-IR signals is evident, and, in the thermal analysis, a shift in the glass transition temperature (Tg) for the soft block in the host matrix towards higher values upon the addition of both ILs is also observed. The composite films show a temperature-dependent permeation with a step change corresponding to the solid&ndash;liquid phase change in the ILs. Thus, the prepared polymer gel/ILs composite membranes provide the possibility of modulating the transport properties of the polymer matrix simply by playing with temperature. The permeation of all the investigated gases obeys an Arrhenius-type law. A specific permeation behavior, depending on the heating&ndash;cooling cycle sequence, can be observed for carbon dioxide. The obtained results indicate the potential interest of the developed nanocomposites as CO2 valves for smart packaging applications.