Fraunhofer Society, TUM produce polyamide sustainably

Lynn Imbier

A workforce of scientists from the Fraunhofer Modern society and the Technological College of Munich (TUM) has generated a new polyamide family members from a byproduct of cellulose production. This opens the way for a far more sustainable economy with bio-based mostly materials. Polyamides are essential plastics which have been created predominantly from crude oil up until now.

Polyamides can be located in ski bindings and in vehicles or merchandise of garments. Commercially, they have been created predominantly from crude oil up until now. There are just a couple of “green” possibilities, this sort of as polyamides based mostly on castor oil.

Bio-based mostly compounds are normally significantly far more high priced to develop and have for that reason only been capable to penetrate the industry before now if they have had unique qualities. A workforce led by Volker Sieber, professor of the Chemistry of Biogenic Uncooked Supplies at TU Munich, has now developed a completely new polyamide family members which can be generated from a byproduct of cellulose production.

The biogenic starting off substance, (+)-three-carene, is created up of two rings which are fused to one particular a different. The chemists at the TUM and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Straubing have modified one particular of the rings in this sort of a way that it can be opened up, yielding a very long chain of molecules, a polymer.

The second ring remains intact here. In this way, in its place of a linear polymer chain like in classic polyamides, a chain which bears a lot of compact rings and other facet groups emerges. This offers the polymer completely new features.

The new polyamides have particular qualities which make them appealing for a lot of apps. For example, they melt at greater temperatures than the competing crude oil derived products. In addition, the new compounds can be generated transparently as well as in a partially crystalline method, which increases its afterwards software opportunities working with the exact same starting off compound.

“By way of reaction conditions and catalysts during synthesis, we can simply control no matter if we will receive a transparent or partially crystalline polyamide in the end,” points out Sieber. “However, the foundation for this is made available over all by the specific construction of the bio-based mostly starting off substance which would be extremely high priced to receive from fossil raw materials.”

From an industrial position of look at, it is essential that the synthesis fundamentally can take spot in one particular reaction container. This “one-pot” process would not just make it possible for a significant reduction in expenses, but would also signify a clear maximize in sustainability, according to Sieber.

The biogenic starting off substance (+)-three-carene can be distilled at a superior purity and comparatively small value from the turpentine oil generated as a secondary solution in the cellulose marketplace. Up until now, the turpentine oil was only heated in the cellulose factories. “We use it as a vital starting off substance for plastics,” states Sieber. “This is an great maximize in worth.”

Sieber points out that with turpentine oil becoming a facet solution of the forest marketplace, in opposite to the use of castor oil, “we are not competing from food stuff production.” The scientists are not still completely glad with the obtained total generate of the process, this is at 25 per cent by mass.

“Thanks to the easy scalability, the opportunity for an effective process is extremely superior,” states Paul Stockmann, whose doctoral thesis at the TUM is based mostly on the conclusions. At the Fraunhofer IGB, the chemist is now working to establish (+)-three-carene-based mostly polyamides as possibilities to crude-oil-based mostly superior-efficiency polyamides.

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