Nelly Garcia Gonzalez, together with colleagues Raffaella Suriano and Stefano Turri, has a new article out in the Journal of Polymers and the Environment, titled 'Environmental Profile and Technological Validation of New High-Tg Unsaturated Polyesters from Fully Bio-Based Monomers and Reactive Diluents'. See the abstract below and read the full article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10924-020-01928-z.
This study was focused on the synthesis and characterization of a fully bio-based unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) with good thermal properties suitable for the commercial production of composite polymers. UPRs based on different ratios of bio-based furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA), itaconic acid, and diols were synthesized. The unsaturated polymers prepared were evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry, gel permeation chromatography, FTIR and 1H-NMR spectroscopy. The results showed positive effects of FDCA on the glass transition temperature (Tg) of these fully bio-based polyesters, especially when FDCA was combined with 1,2-propanediol. Optimal values of Tg were obtained in the range of 30–32 °C for UPRs synthesized starting with a higher concentration of FDCA in the monomer feed. The possibility of substituting styrene, which usually acts as a reactive diluent, with a greener and safer alternative during the crosslinking of UPRs, was also explored. Two bio-based reactive diluents were considered: dimethyl itaconate (DMI) and butanediol dimethacrylate. After crosslinking, an average Tg of 75 °C and a good crosslinking efficiency indicated by a gel content of 90% were achieved for the fully bio-based polyester obtained under milder reaction conditions and dilution with DMI. Life cycle assessment was performed on selected UPRs, and comparison with a reference fossil-based resin in terms of the calculated category indicator results confirmed the lower environmental impact of the newly prepared bio-based polyesters.