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Biorenewable Epoxy Resins Derived from Phenolic Acids

An innovative material and method for epoxy resins derived from phenolic acid rather than traditional bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (DGEBA). Phenolic acids have desirable rigid structures that result in a stiff and heat-resistant epoxy resin material. Additionally, phenolic acids are derived from non-toxic and renewable plant sources. The method of producing phenolic acid based epoxy resin includes converting the phenolic acid into an epoxidized form. This conversion is followed by curing with a curing agent, which is similar to the curing process for DGEBA-based epoxy resins. Two types of epoxidized phenolic acid are used for epoxy resin: epoxidized salicylic acid (ESA) and epoxidized 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (E4HBA). Both ESA- and E4HBA-based epoxy resins exhibit stiffness and strength superior to DGEBA-based epoxy resin. Furthermore, E4HBA-based epoxy resin exhibits resistance to both heat and elongation comparable to DGEBA-based epoxy resin. Additionally, both the ESA- and E4HBA-based epoxy resins are capable of triggered degradation.

Applications

  • Replacement for traditional petroleum derived epoxy resins
  • Composite materials, like those utilized in the wind power and automotive industries
  • Protective coatings
  • Adhesives

Problems Addressed

  • Increasing concerns regarding the health effects of DGEBA-based epoxy resins
  • Negative environmental impacts of petroleum based non-degradable epoxy resins
  • Developing a sustainable and renewable source for epoxy resins that has comparable mechanical and thermal characteristics to petroleum based epoxy resins
  • Decreasing the environmental impact of non-degradable waste in landfills

Competitive Advantages

  • Epoxy resin derived from renewable, non-toxic sources, such as agricultural products
  • 12% increase in tensile strength compared to DGEBA-based epoxy resins
  • 16% increase in modulus in comparison to DGEBA-based epoxy resins
  • Comparable elongation at break values and glass transition temperatures to DGEBA-based epoxy resins
  • Capable of triggered degradation, which will decrease the amount as agricultural products DGEBA-based epoxy resins of non-degradable waste in landfills

Patents