Sustainable Bio-Based UV-Cured Epoxy Vitrimer from Castor Oil

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Feb 18;15(4):1024. doi: 10.3390/polym15041024.


Vitrimers brought new properties in thermosets by allowing their reshaping, self-healing, reprocessing, and network rearrangement without changing structural integrity. In this study, epoxidized castor oil (ECO) was successfully used for the straightforward synthesis of a bio-based solvent-free vitrimer. The synthesis was based on a UV-curing process, which proceeded at low temperatures in the absence of any solvents, and within a short time. Real time Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy and photo-DSC were exploited to monitor the cationic photocurable process. The UV-cured polymer networks were able to efficiently undergo thermo-activated bond exchange reactions due to the presence of dibutyl phosphate as a transesterification catalyst. Mechanical properties, thermal resistance, glass transition temperature, and stress relaxation were investigated as a function of the amount of transesterification catalyst. Mechanical properties were determined by both DMTA and tensile tests. Glass transition temperature (Tg) was evaluated by DMTA. Thermal stability was assessed by thermogravimetric analysis, whilst vitrimeric properties were studied by stress relaxation experiments. Overall, the ECO-based vitrimer showed high thermal resistance (up to 200 °C) and good mechanical properties (elastic modulus of about 10 MPa) and can therefore be considered as a promising starting point for obtaining more sustainable vitrimers.

PMID:36850307 | PMC:PMC9963144 | DOI:10.3390/polym15041024


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