High performance bio-based epoxies

Scientists describe the synthesis and properties of bio-based epoxies from ferulic acid and furfuryl alcohol.

A graphic symbolises sustainability with green arrows.
European biomass residues will be converted into the essential building block bio MPA (3-methylphthalic anhydride).  Image source: RoadLight - Pixabay (symbol image).

The lignin derivative ferulic acid was directly functionalised to diepoxy which could be co-cross-linked with furfuryl alcohol-derived monoepoxy to achieve high-performance bio-based thermosets. The development of high-performance bio-based epoxy as a sustainable alternative to fossil-sourced bisphenol A epoxy has great significance.

Properties even higher than those of bisphenol A epoxy

In the present work, ferulic acid-based diepoxy (FAE) was facilely synthesised through a direct reaction with epichlorohydrin. After cross-linking, its thermal and mechanical properties are comparable with or even higher than those of bisphenol A epoxy according to the researchers. The carbon–carbon double bond in the framework of the FAE was also exploited to further upgrade its properties via the Diels–Alder reaction with a synthesised glycidyl ether of furfuryl alcohol (GEFA). The chemical structures of FAE and GEFA, curing kinetics, and the Diels–Alder reaction were characterised in detail. The glass transition temperature of FAE-GEFA systems reached ∼250 °C.

The work provides a simple way to achieve high-performance thermosets from ferulic acid, and also offers a promising sustainable alternative to bisphenol A epoxy.

The study has been published in Green Chemistry, Issue 4, 2021.

If you are interested in becomming an expert on bio-based coatings yourself, the online EC Short Course Bio-based coatings is the perfect opportunity to get to a first class introduction into this exiting new field.

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