96890 - Bioplastics and Polymers for a Circular Economy

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Chemistry (cod. 9072)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student is able to evaluate the environmental sustainability of a polymeric material, he is able to design its extraction/synthesis from a renewable resource, to evaluate its possible applications and disposal. The student understands the impact of a polymeric material with the environment during its life. Moreover, the student has gained the tools to understand the structure-property correlations in polymeric materials and he is able to predict its physical and chemical properties on the basis of its molecular structure.

Course contents

  • Review of macromolecular chemistry: synthesis and structure- property correlation of the main polymer classes
  • Bioplastics: definitions and standards
    • Definition of polymer form renewable resource and methods to define the amount of biobased content (ISO16620)
    • Biorefinery: production of monomers, building blocks and polymers
    • Polymer disposal and recycling: mechanical, chemical and biological recycling and incineration (ISO 15270)
    • Biodegradation and composting (definition, mechanism, ISO14855, EN 13432)
  • Classes of bioplastics
    • Polymers from renewable resource by extraction or fermentation (cellulose, starch, polyhydroxyalkanoates)
    • Monomers from renewable resources and their polymers (polylactic acid, polybutylene succinate and copolymers, aliphatic-aromatic polyesters, aliphatic polyamides, bio-PE and bio-PET)
  • Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment (ISO 14040)


The lesson's notes will be fundamental.

Power point presentations shown during lessons will be available at the following website: https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Useful readings are publications on the website of the European Bioplastics (http://www.european-bioplastics.org/news/publications/ )

Further readings are:

“Monomers, Polymers and Composites from Renewable Resources” Ed. M. N. Belgacem and A. Gandini Ed.

“Biopolymers from Renewable Resources” D.L. Kaplan Ed.

“Bio-based Plastics Materials and Applications” S. Kabasci Ed..

Teaching methods

Lectures with the aid of projector.

Assessment methods

Learning assessment is based on an oral examination at the end of the course. The oral examination will last around 40 minutes and aims at evaluating the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course, the possession of a correct technical language and the understanding of the covered topics.

Teaching tools

Lectures with the aid of PC, projector.

Office hours

See the website of Chiara Gualandi


Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.