Until now, the use of renewable or “green” materials around the world has been limited due to their higher production costs when compared to petroleum derived materials. However, due to the recent volatility and increasing price of petrochemical derivatives and to an ever-increasing interest of consumers to become ecologically responsible, there has been a growing demand for the use of environmentally friendly materials produced from biological sources, other than petroleum. When these materials are polymerized or modified, the products can possess similar or better characteristics to their petroleum-based counterparts. Of these, those that ultimately reach the marketplace must offer an “advantage”, some feature that presents a value opportunity that would be otherwise missed using the petrochemical alternative.
Our group focuses, primarily, on using low value feedstocks, e.g. glycerol, and transforming them into higher value bioadvantaged materials that are to be used in different applications such as pressure sensitive adhesives, paints and coatings, asphalt modification, etc. Moreover, recently our group developed a method to synthetize thermoplastic elastomers using acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO), a bioadvantaged replacement of butadiene, and styrene with the use of controlled radical polymerization techniques.
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