- About Us
- Research Activities
- Affiliate Companies
- Collegiate Partners
- Sustainable Polymers
- Broader Impacts
- Seed Funding
- Secure Site
Center for Chemical Innovation
Main navigation | Main content
Soy Polyols Improve Flexible Foam
Subsituting up to 30% of a polyol based on soybean oil improved the compression modulus of flexible polyurethane foam used in seating. Read the full article.
100% Soy Polyol Rigid Foam
We have made a rigid polyurethane foam for spray insulation where all the polyol is soy-based. Processing, mechanical and initial insulation properties are comparable or exceed those of foams made with conventional polyols derived from petroleum. However, the thermal conductivity of our soy-based rigid foams increases with aging more rapidly. Read more here.
Catalytic decarbonylation of biomass-derived carboxylic acids as efficient route to commodity monomers
In a recent paper published in the journal Green Chemistry, CSP researchers Maria O. Miranda, Agostino Pietrangelo, William B. Tolman and Marc A. Hillmyer describe the synthesis of styrene, alkyl acrylates and acrylonitrile from bio-derived carboxylic acids. Using a palladium-catalyzed decarbonylation route, they were able to isolate high yields of the traditionally petrochemically-derived monomers. Additionally, they illustrate the robustness of the reaction to air and moisture as well as using low catalyst loadings, neat reaction conditions and distillation to remove products from the reaction mixture. The full article is available here.
Soybean oil + PLA = tough plastics
Three recent publications out of the Hillmyer group highlight the utility of block copolymers in compatibilizing polylactide and various forms of soybean oil. Postdoctoral research associates Kwanho Chang and Megan Robertson in addition to graduate student Will Gramlich demonstrate how these two renewable materials can be combined in creative ways to generate new materials with improved properties. See the following publications for more information:
A new stereospecific cyclic ester polymerization catalyst
A simple catalyst system comprising indium trichloride, an amine and an alcohol and lacking an added “directing” multidentate ligand was shown to yield highly heterotactic polylactide of controlled molecular weight and narrow molecular weight distribution. This research was performed by Dr. Agostino Pietrangelo, working with Profs. Tolman and Hillmyer, and is described here.
Renewable Shape Memory Materials
Jennifer Lowe, a graduate student in the labs of professors Hillmyer & Tolman in the Department of Chemistry recently reported the use of an epoxylactone derivative of the natural product dihydrocarvone as a renewable resource derived crosslinking agent. This dihydrocarvone derivative has been used to make network copolymers with shape memory properties and tunable shape transition (or switching) temperatures. This work was recently published in Biomacromolecules.
Transport and Degradation Kinetics of Biobased Polymers
University of Minnesota professors Ramaswamy (Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering) and Hillmyer (Chemistry) are working together with a team at Drexel University on a project aimed at understanding water transport in polylactide. This research will help the design of new polylactide-based materials that have improved moisture barrier properties. Read more.
One monomer, two polymers
By chemical functionalization of the readily available renewable resource lactide, a new multifunctional monomer useful for toughening polylactide was discovered. Read more.
Green Thermoplastic Elastomers
ABA triblock copolymers containing all renewable components have been developed. These elastic materials have properties that render them competitive with traditional petroleum-derived materials. Read more.
Ring-Opening Polymerization of Macrocycles: A New Route to Green Polymers
A new procedure for preparing high molecular weight poly[3-hydroxypropionic acid] (P[3-HP]), a biorenewable and biodegradable plastic with attractive mechanical properties was discovered. Read more.
Renewable Resource Polymers for Polylactide Toughening
A new diblock copolymer useful for toughening polylactide was developed and found to be an effective blend compatibilizer. Read more.