The use of bio-based products is not new. Industrial leaders from the past (George Washington Carver Henry Ford) promoted the use of agricultural products in manufacturing. Historically however petroleum-based chemicals proved less expensive to produce and bio-based feedstocks were not advanced. With the skyrocketing cost of oil however and with the world’s dependence on non-renewable resources and growing environmental concerns bio-based components are becoming very attractive. The technologies included in this portfolio lead to the production of bio-based chemical feedstocks that yield high performance bio-based thermoset materials (materials that strengthen when heat is applied). All of these high-functioning bio-based thermosets have been tested and show excellent hardness solvent resistance and gloss as well as higher degrees of crosslinking and higher glass transition temperatures than currently available bio-based technologies with properties comparable to petrochemical-based materials. Due to the variety of crosslinking chemistries (methods for linking polymer chains) and the ability to “tune” these systems these materials have potential in a number of applications in the fields of coatings adhesives composites and inks.
This portfolio of technologies overcomes some of the challenges in current approaches to bio-based materials especially those based on vegetable oils where soft and rubbery materials are usually obtained. In contrast to these other approaches these technologies result in high-hardness high-modulus materials with high bio-based content. Properties evaluated to date show that the materials are comparable to high-performance petrochemical-based materials which is a current market demand. The synthesis of the resins in the technology makes use of commercially available raw materials and reagents and involves processes currently practiced in the industry.