254263 Soybean Oil Based Fibers Formed without Solvent or Heat

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 9:45 AM
304 (Convention Center )
Dustin W. Janes1, Kadhiravan Shanmuganathan2, Daniel Y. Chou3 and Christopher J. Ellison2, (1)McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, (2)McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, (3)Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

The vast majority of commercially produced synthetic polymers used for fiber applications are made entirely from non-renewable, petroleum-based feedstocks. Because annual worldwide production of nonwoven fibers is in the billions of kilograms, incorporating even small amounts of biorenewable materials in these products could significantly impact the allocation of non-renewable resources. Additionally, large amounts of solvent and/or thermal energy are usually needed to process polymers into fibers. A safer and more efficient route to fiber production may be to photopolymerize functional monomer liquids during fiber formation processes. In this presentation we show that thiol/-ene chemistry can be harnessed to enable production of fibers containing over 50 wt. % acrylated epoxidized soybean oil without using solvent or heat. In this demonstration, the fibers were made by simultaneous electrospinning and photocuring of a liquid monomer mixture which we believe can be translated to other fiber manufacturing processes such as melt blowing. Scanning electron micrographs illustrate the fiber quality and an average diameter of about 30 μm. Photochemical conversion kinetics of functional groups during light exposure were measured by real-time Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, providing insight into the advantages of using high-functionality monomers and thiol/-ene chemistry in this application.

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