Researchers Develop Transparent Bio-based Polyamides with Thermal Stability
04 October 2018
The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB is investigating a sustainable alternative for the production of new high-performance plastics from terpenes found in resin-rich wood to make polyamaide resin. This natural substance comes from conifers such as pine, larch or spruce. Terepenes can be found largely as by product of pulp production as turpentine oils. Turpentine oils contain 3-carene that can be turn into lactam, until this moment this oils is regarded as by product so they are incinerated by pulp producer.
IGB have now succeeded in optimizing the synthesis of lactams from the terpene 3-carene and lactam produced here can use as biobased building blocks of polyamides. IGB succed converting them into a scalable, competitive process on a potentially industrial scale. The Straubing experts could already show that terpenes such as α-pinene, limonene and 3-carene are also suitable raw materials for the synthesis of bio based lactams. Bio based lactam can also be used in making copolymer with other commercially monomer molecule such as laurolactam (monomer of PA 12) and caprolactam (monomer of PA 6). This modification resulted in crystalinity and transparency that is significantly modified.
The solution of making biobased lactam can be done as “one pot reaction sequence”. Researchers have found specific catalyst and reaction condtiton to simplify the reaction to produce sufficient amount in the most effective time. The making of bio Lactam does not required hazardous chemicals. Making bio based lactam from pulp factory by-product differentiate this to other bio based material that are usually made from corn, wheat or potato starch. So the making of bio based lactam is not competing with the food industry to make primary human consumption.
Polyamaide that is made from this bio building block has been found to be not only transparent but have a high termal stability. Thus this material can be used to make engine component. Traditional polyamaide also have high termal stability however due to its aromatic domain it tend discolor overtime when exposed to UV light, so it may limit their potentials as outdoor application. In comparison with the bio based polyamides the aromatic domains do not occur it gives them better performance under UV lights. Bio based polyamide can achieve high transparency that increases their use in making safety goggles for example.
Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology https://polymer-additives.specialchem.com/news/industry-news/researchers-transparent-bio-based-polyamide-000215710