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Replacement of monomer and catalyst in BADGE-MA/alkene coatings

PhD ceremony:H. (Hugo) den Besten, MSc
When:June 18, 2024
Supervisors:W.R. (Wesley) Browne, Prof, prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Replacement of monomer and catalyst in BADGE-MA/alkene coatings

Steel is often coated with a protective layer to prevent corrosion. Such coatings reduce the cost of maintenance and increase the durability of a construction. For harsh environments, such as aqueous acidic or saline conditions, protective coatings are usually based on cross-linking bis-methacrylates diluted with styrene as a reactive diluent. But because styrene is toxic and brings several health risks, styrene needs to be replaced in these applications. Besides styrene, also the currently used catalyst, a cobalt(II)-soap, has to be replaced.

In his PhD research, Hugo den Besten searched for a suitable replacement for styrene. Since the definition of ‘suitable’ turns out to be highly dependent on the application, the main goal of his research was actually to better understand what is happening in resins containing styrene and how variations affect polymerisation kinetics and final properties. 

As an alternative for styrene in resins, Den Besten tested 4-tert-butylstyrene, which is less volatile, and after curing gives similar physical properties. Den Besten also found a di-nuclear manganese complex, which gives comparable gel-time, extent of conversion, reproducibility and stability as the current cobalt catalyst. This makes it a suitable candidate for the replacement of cobalt in bis-methacrylate/alkene resins.