How green is your plastic?
Economical synthesis of polyacrylates and polymethacrylates from biobased materials
(Press-News.org) Despite the best efforts of industry to work towards sustainability, most plastics (or polymers) are still made using non-renewable fossil fuels. However, researchers have now found an economical method for producing biobased acrylate resins. The study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, shows how all the synthesis steps, from initial building blocks right up to polymerization, can be carried out in a single reactor (one pot), minimizing environmental impact.
Most varnishes, adhesives and paints are made from acrylate resins, which are polymers of acrylic acid esters and methacrylic acid esters. The raw materials that form these esters are acrylic or methacrylic acid, and alcohols. The alcohols give the plastics properties, such as softness or hardness, and water absorption or repulsion.
To make these polyacrylates and polymethacrylates more sustainable, Christophe Thomas and his team from the Institut de Recherche de Chimie in Paris, France, used alcohols from biobased or natural sources, rather than fossil sources. These included plant-based lauryl alcohol, menthol, tetrahydrogeraniol (a pheromone-like substance), vanillin, and ethyl lactate.
In addition to sustainability through renewable resources, the team also targeted synthesis in as few steps as possible, in other words a one-pot process. This meant they had to find catalysts that were suitable for several steps of the process, and also to finely tune all the other synthesis conditions, such as solvents, concentrations, and temperatures.
The first step in this kind of synthesis is the activation of acrylic or methacrylic acid. The researchers were able to identify catalysts from simple salts. These substances were also suitable for the next step, reacting the biobased alcohols with acrylic or methacrylic anhydride (a condensed form of the acids) to give the corresponding esters, which are the building blocks of the subsequent polymer.
"This monomer preparation step is highly efficient and allowed us to perform the polymerization in the same reactor," says Thomas. Thus, without purifying the intermediate products, the team was ultimately able to produce block copolymers, which are widely used in plastics production, from two or three different individual polymers produced separately.
The team's biobased plastics had a number of beneficial properties, depending on the monomers making them up. For example, the resin produced with a lactic acid side chain (poly(ELMA)) was hard and brittle, while the one produced with the more flexible tetrahydrogeraniol side chain (poly(THGA)) was pliable at room temperature. The authors emphasize the numerous available possibilities thanks to the wide variety of biobased alcohols at their disposal.
Aside from the versatility of the team's approach, their one-pot synthesis also helps reduce the environmental footprint. Since work-up solvents account for a large proportion of the E-factor, or environmental impact, of plastics synthesis, one-pot processes without work-up obviously greatly reduce this factor. Their most successful synthesis reduced the E-factor by three quarters, demonstrating the significance of this research.
About the Author
Prof. Dr. Christophe Thomas leads the Organometallic Chemistry and Polymerization Catalysis team of the Institut de Recherche de Chimie Paris, CNRS/Chimie ParisTech/PSL University, France. The team's focus is on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing small molecules and polymers obtained from bioresources, with a special emphasis on low waste and energy consumption pathways.
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
The sight of felled trees and logging activity can be jarring for nature lovers, but from those sites can sprout young forest growth that's especially attractive to a familiar inhabitant of wooded areas throughout the Northeast - bats.
New findings from researchers at the UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, published in Forest Ecology and Management, finds that a number of bat species native to the Northeast are highly active in newly created forest spaces, foraging for food at higher rates than is typical of mature forests.
Little is known about ...
Vaccine hesitancy continues to be a hurdle in the development of widespread immunity within the U.S. population as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine have developed a computerized decision analytic model to compare projected outcomes of three vaccine strategies: a patient opts for a messenger RNA vaccine, a patient decides to get an adenovirus vector vaccine or the patient simply forgoes a vaccine altogether.
Pfizer and Moderna produce mRNA vaccines while Johnson & Johnson manufacture an adenovirus vector vaccine. The decision analytic ...
Surgical scars treated with a molecule called alphaCT1 showed a long-term improvement in appearance when compared to control scars, according to multicenter, controlled Phase II clinical trials - a finding that could help surgeons improve patient outcomes.
Now, a public-private research team led by Rob Gourdie, professor and director of the Center for Vascular and Heart Research at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, has revealed clues about why and how it improves the appearance of scars.
The study, to be published in the August issue of the Federation ...
When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time.
This dinosaur, called Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis, was discovered in Argentinean Patagonia in the 1980s, and the first analyses of its fossils indicated an ailment of the foot, possibly a fracture, as the Argentinean palaeontologist Jaime Powell pointed out at the time. The study of this animal then came to a standstill until 2016, when Powell invited another team of scientists to resume ...
The Indian Ocean has been warming much more than other ocean basins over the last 50-60 years. While temperature changes basin-wide can be unequivocally attributed to human-induced climate change, it is difficult to assess whether contemporary heat and freshwater changes in the Indian Ocean since 1980 represent an anthropogenically-forced transformation of the hydrological cycle. What complicates the assessment is factoring in natural variations, regional-scale trends, a short observational record, climate model uncertainties, and the ocean basin's complex circulation.
PHILADELPHIA--Alzheimer's disease and related diseases can still only be confirmed in deceased patients' brains via autopsy. Even so, the development of biomarkers can give patients and their families answers during life: Alzheimer's disease can be accurately detected via peptides and proteins in a patient's cerebrospinal fluids (CSF), which can be collected through a lumbar puncture and tested while the patient is alive. In 2018, a new framework suggested combining three Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in CSF - pathologic amyloid plaques (A), tangles (T), and neurodegeneration (N), collectively called ATN. According to recent research from the Perelman School ...
An international team of researchers led by Kumamoto and Tokyo Universities (Japan) have shown that the L452R mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is common to two mutant strains (Epsilon and Delta), is involved in cellular immunity evasion via the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) A24, and enhances viral infectivity. HLA-A24 is one of the most prominent HLA-class I alleles, especially in East/Southeast Asian populations, which might make them particularly vulnerable to coronavirus variants with this mutation.
The ongoing novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) pandemic has, as of June 2021, infected over 150 million and killed over 3.5 million people worldwide. Vaccination drives ...
A Korean research team has identified the origin of bifurcated current sheets, considered one of the most unsolved mysteries in the Earth's magnetosphere and in magnetized plasma physics.
A POSTECH joint research team led by Professor Gunsu S. Yun of the Department of Physics and Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering and Dr. Young Dae Yoon from the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory has theoretically established the process of collisionless equilibration of disequilibrated plasma current sheets. In addition, by comparing this with particle simulations and satellite data from NASA, the origin of the bifurcated ...
Professor Hiromi Nakano of Toyohashi University of Technology used a material with a unique periodical structure (smart material: Li-M-Ti-O [M = Nb or Ta]) as a host material to synthesize new Mn4+-activated phosphors that exhibit red light emissions at 685 nm when excited at 493 nm. Because the valence of the Mn ions in the material changes from Mn4+ to Mn3+ according to the sintering temperature, composition, and crystal structure, there is a difference in the photoluminescence intensity of the phosphors. XRD, TEM, and XANES were used to clarify the relationship between the photoluminescence intensity and the sintering temperature, ...
Chinese researchers along with international colleagues recently reported a 6,700-year-long, precisely dated and well-calibrated tree-ring stable isotope chronology from the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau. It reveals full-frequency precipitation variability in the Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) from interannual to multimillennial timescales with a long-term decreasing trend and several abrupt climate change events.
The international research team comprised 20 scientists from research groups based in China, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, USA, Sweden, Canada, and Switzerland ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] How green is your plastic?
Economical synthesis of polyacrylates and polymethacrylates from biobased materials