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Designing and Engineering Biobased Thermosets from Epoxy Resin and Poly (furfuryl alcohol): Routes to Improve Performance

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Title: Designing and Engineering Biobased Thermosets from Epoxy Resin and Poly (furfuryl alcohol): Routes to Improve Performance
Author: Mashouf Roudsari, Ghodsieh
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Misra, Manjusri
Abstract: Epoxy resins possess a variety of excellent properties regarding adhesion, mechanical performance, and electrical insulation, however cured epoxy resin is brittle and typically petroleum based. Rising concerns about depletion of non-renewable resources and climate change have resulted in attempts to find green alternatives for petroleum based materials. In the present project, various green approaches to overcome epoxy resin brittleness and increase biobased content were implemented. Compression molding has been used to produce biobased thermosets and performance of cured samples was evaluated with regard to mechanical properties, morphology and thermo-mechanical characteristics. The first study revealed the positive hybridization effect of poly (furfuryl alcohol) (PFA) and epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) in improving impact strength of a biobased epoxy. The morphology study showed inhomogeneity in the structure of the biobased thermoset and it was related to the difference in curing kinetic of components. Sebacic acid was utilized as a new curing agent for epoxy resin and the effect of addition of different amounts of ESO on curing kinetics and mechanical properties of the epoxy matrix were investigated. It was found that the activation energy of the epoxy-sebacic acid system is higher than many petroleum based hardeners and the addition of ESO reduces rate of curing reaction. Then, poly (propylene carbonate) polyol (PPC), a biobased polymer synthesized from carbon dioxide, was added into an epoxy/PFA matrix. The addition of 20 phr of PPC increased the notched Izod impact strength and tensile toughness by 190% and 220%, respectively. Further investigation of the biobased thermoset was performed by preparing biocomposites. The developed biocomposite showed increase in tensile strength, notched Izod impact strength and tensile toughness by 87%, 63% and 320%, respectively. In addition, biochar was incorporated into epoxy/PFA/PPC samples. The correlation between the content of components and the mechanical properties was found using design of experiment. The statistical analysis of the system gave comprehensive information about the effect of each component with high predictability. It was found that hybridization of PFA, PPC, and biochar can improve tensile strength, tensile modulus, flexural strength and tensile toughness of epoxy resin up to 46%, 46%, 54% and 48%, respectively.
Date: 2017-05
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