Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Christina Young - Tuskegee University
Co-Author(s): Shatori Meadows, Shaik Zainnuddin, and Mahesh Hosur, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee AL
Many synthetic polymers are synthesized through crude oil feedstock which is a natural resource that is nonrenewable at the same rate as current consumption. Researchers have had growing concerns of increase of CO2 emissions ultimately leading to harsh weather conditions, polymeric particulates in the ocean, and chemical run off from landfills after its product life cycle has ended. Renewable resources such as vegetable may replace commercial epoxy resin due to the unsaturated sites which is formed during the epoxidation process using formic acid and hydrogen peroxide to produce epoxide groups that form epoxidized vegetable oils; this is very useful in polymer preparation. Currently epoxidized vegetable oils are limited to its use as plasticizers and coatings predominantly used with polyvinylchloride (PVC). For the necessity to decrease reliance in nonrenewable resources optimization of the epoxidation process is essential. This study focuses on synthesizing an epoxidized soybean oil(ESO) resin that is carried out by using in situ generated performic acid. The amount of soybean oil and formic acid remained constant as the concentration of hydrogen peroxide was varied at 1, 1.5, and 2 molar ratios. The reaction time and reaction temperature was varied using 2, 4, and 6 hours and at 50 and 60°C while the reaction speed remained a constant 900 RPM to achieve an optimum system that would result in high number of epoxide groups that consequently would lead to high crosslinking. The determination of the epoxide groups was characterized using ASTM D1652-11 and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The highest epoxide content was found to be 7.45% when using 2M of hydrogen peroxide over the reaction period of 6 hours held at 50°C. Currently, ongoing work consists of blending the optimum ESO system with commercially available epoxy resin, and testing the mechanical properties using impact and tensile tests. Due to the fact that ESO-based polymers have low glass transition temperatures, blending with a commercial epoxy resin system can provide favorable mechanical properties and higher glass transition temperature for improved cross linking. Future studies investigate the incorporation of nanoparticles for a possible improvement of the mechanical properties for use in the exterior of automotive and marine application.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF Grant HRD-1409918; NSF DMR-1358998
Faculty Advisor: Shaik Zainuddin, email@example.com
Role: This research was done conjointly with Coauthor Shatori Meadows. All testing of epoxide content was done together.