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Operando spectroscopy for resin curing

PhD ceremony:L.E. Eijsink, MSc
When:May 23, 2022
Supervisors:W.R. (Wesley) Browne, Prof Dr, prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering

Coatings and paint are important in our daily lives, both for aesthetic as well as protective purposes. In this thesis, the hardening is described of a particular coating material based on a mixture of bismethacrylate and styrene, which is used to protect steel from corrosion, for example, from acidic liquids. The transition to sustainable and benign coatings is an important stimulus for this research, considering both human and animal exposure to components, as well as environmental impact. Specifically, the search for an alternative cobalt catalyst was the driving force for the research described here. Making this apparently simple step turns out to be more difficult than simply substituting ingredients. A deeper understanding of how the components work is essential. The focus of this thesis rests on understanding the process of curing and how factors affect the kinetics of the reactions involved with an emphasis on the spectroscopic techniques used to do this.

The data demonstrate how ineffective simply changing (screening) catalysts for curing is, and that a reformulation of the current resins needs to be made to achieve coatings of equal quality to those used currently. Operando spectroscopy allows us to follow curing in real time, which is essential to make rapid and quantitative choices in the composition of the initiator system.