434937 Synthesis and Characterization of Epoxy Resins Utilizing Plant-Derived Phenolic Acids

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: 2:10 PM
250D (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Guozhen Yang, Hiruy Tesefay and Megan L. Robertson, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX

Epoxy resins are widely applied in composites, coatings, adhesives, automotive components, wind turbine blades and other applications, due to their superior chemical properties, electrical and heat resistance, adhesion, and mechanical properties. However, most commercial epoxy resins are derived from non-sustainable petroleum, which is a limited resource. For this reason, sustainable biomass derivatives – such as vegetable oils, plant sugars, lignin and cellulose – have attracted much interest to replace traditional epoxy resin components, such as the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA). The objective of this project is to explore phenolic acids, sustainable, plant-derived molecules, as an alternative to DGEBA. Phenolic acids were chosen as the rigid aromatic rings were expected to contribute to the mechanical strength of the resulting resins, and the presence of carboxylic acid and hydroxyl groups provide ease of functionalization. A diverse array of phenolic acids were epoxidized: salicylic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, gentisic acid and gallic acid. The number and the relative placement of functional groups within the molecules vary. Relationships were developed between the structure of the phenolic acids, and the resulting network structure, thermal behavior, and mechanical properties of the films.

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