Epoxy Thermosets are Derived from PlantsS. Himmelstein | August 17, 2017
The development of epoxidized plant oil thermosets promises to augment or replace conventional thermosets fabricated with nonrenewable materials or containing environmentally harmful constituents.
Thermoset resins are widely used as adhesives and coatings in electronics, appliances and aircraft. To supply a bio-based option for these resins, researchers from Southwest University (Chongqing, China) sought to fabricate an all-plant oil-derived epoxy thermoset through a catalyst-free curing method.
A new curing agent was made of components of castor oil, which is derived from a plant. When the researchers used the agent on a soybean-based epoxy thermoset, it became more crystalline. The treatment improved material strength, durability and heat-resistance. Light was observed to pass through the soybean-based thermoset, potentially making it ideal for use in solar cells and other applications.