Development of biobased building blocks, polymers and coatings
|PhD ceremony:||Mr J.G.H. (George) Hermens|
|When:||January 17, 2023|
|Supervisors:||prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa, W.R. (Wesley) Browne, Prof|
|Where:||Academy building RUG|
|Faculty:||Science and Engineering|
Coatings are omnipresent in daily life, indispensable in construction and applied everywhere around us to enhance the durability and aesthetics of numerous products ranging from cars to wood to electronics. One of the most conventional sets of building blocks used to build these polymer chains, justified by their high reactivity and broad versatility, are the petrochemical feedstock derived acrylates. Despite their promise, the high demand and the resulting large-scale production from fossil fuels contribute heavily to an unsustainable ecological footprint. As a result of the growing environmental awareness and the desire for a green future, sustainable production of acrylates and the development of acrylate alternatives derived from biorenewable resources have gained increased attention over the last decades. Although great progress has been made, the commercialization of a competing sustainable process has not yet been achieved due techno-economic challenges arising from the underdeveloped larger scale syntheses and expensive starting materials and reagents. In this thesis we implemented both strategies and present several new developments towards sustainable acrylate alternatives (alkoxybutenolides) and biobased acrylic acid, all starting from furfural and using oxygen and visible light for sustainable chemical transformations. In order to account for a larger scale synthesis, a photochemical reactor was developed for the continuous production of our sustainable building blocks. The resulting biobased coatings obtained from these alkoxybutenolides are hard, transparent and resistant to solvent and water, similar to commercial coatings. Above all, the coatings are functional and have tunable properties, based on the different building blocks we developed.
See also: Scientists create coatings from nature