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BC is working with Cambridge Biopolymers Ltd to commercialise novel proprietary patented technology around the manufacture of thermosetting 'bioresins' from vegetable oils. Funded by both DTI and private investment, these products will find use in applications currently dominated by formaldehyde-based resins, such as wood-based panels and fibre reinforced composite applications.
The technology uses the natural reactivity of ozone to attack the double bonds present in vegetable oil, forming oxygen linkages that can subsequently break down into cross-linkable units. Alternative strategies employ chemicals to epoxidise the double bonds prior to polymerisation, but we have now found ozone activation is an effective approach, providing a very clean and efficient synthesis while generating little or no waste.
Other reactive chemicals can be incorporated into the formulation to aid curing, such as tannins and resorcinols. These aromatic nucleophiles enhance the resin properties so that a rapid cure can be obtained in acid domains and, once polymerized, afford excellent bond strengths.
For further information on the products or samples, please contact James Seefeld (USA), Colin Fitchett (UK) at Cambridge Biopolymers or Paul Fowler at BC.UK