Reprocessable thermosets and composites based on vanillin building blocks

01 November 2020 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthesis of materials
    • Macromolecular and materials chemistry not elsewhere classified
    • Organic green chemistry
Covalent adaptable networks and vitrimers Aromatic vanillin-based chemicals Natural fibre reinforced composites
Project description

From the early 20th century, when synthetic polymers were first discovered, to the cutting-edge research that is being carried out today, the field of polymer chemistry has expanded exponentially. A consequence of this huge success is the environmental impact of such large quantities of man-made materials being synthesised, which includes the depletion of finite resources and generating substantial amounts of plastic waste. On the other hand, modern society is undoubtedly unable to function without polymer materials, which can be divided into two main categories: thermoplastics, composed of polymeric chains that can be thermally (re)processed and thermosets, permanently cross-linked materials, which cannot be recycled or reprocessed. The main objective of this project is the preparation of (partially) bio-based, fast-processable thermosetting resins, suitable for continuous processing and thus recycling. First, specific vanillin-derived aromatic, multifunctional monomers will be synthesized and then utilized to prepare Covalent Adaptable Networks (CANs) using two chemical platforms: vinylogous polyurethanes (vinPUs) and anhydride-alcohol chemistry. In a final stage, the project aims to develop resins which could potentially replace the traditional non-recyclable resins and to prepare natural fibres reinforced composites (NFRC). The performance of CANs as new, high performance matrices as well as recyclability of composites therefrom will be thoroughly evaluated.