Novel plant oil-based polymers as binders for artist paints

A series of plant oil based polyvinyl ethers were synthesised and evaluated as potential replacements for linseed oil in artists’ paints. The paints showed controllable drying behavior and low yellowness.

Plant oil vinyl ether monomers were synthesised from linseed Image source: bodobe - Pixabay (symbol image).

For hundreds of years, plant oils have been used as binders for artist paints, but due to their slow drying, yellowing, and cracking on aging the binder market has shifted to petroleum-based acrylics. In the new study, plant oil vinyl ether (POVE) monomers were synthesised from linseed, soybean, and palm oils and then polymerised. The synthesised POVE monomers had colour impurities that were successfully removed via distillation resulting in essentially colourless monomers. The synthesised poly(POVE)s, showed drying behavior faster than linseed oil.

Better mechanical properties

Drying time and viscosity were tailored by varying the molecular weight of the poly(POVE)s. Compared to linseed oil, purified poly(POVE) binders resulted in significantly lower “yellowness” when films were produced with TiO2 pigment. Pigmented films from poly(POVE)s also resulted in better mechanical properties compared to those made using linseed oil as the binder.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 163, February 2022.

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