The Use of Commercial Non-Hazardous Air Pollutant Monomers to Optimize the Properties of Fatty Acid-Based Resins

Report No. ARL-TR-4819
Authors: John J. La Scala; Priya Kamath; Anita Sahu; Giuseppe R. Palmese; James M. Sands
Date/Pages: May 2009; 34 pages
Abstract: Vinyl ester (VE) resins are used to make polymer matrix composites in military and commercial applications because of their good properties, low weight, and low cost. These resins typically contain high concentrations of reactive diluents, such as styrene, to allow these resins to be molded using resin transfer molding and other inexpensive liquid molding techniques. Fatty acid vinyl ester (FAVE) resins, which use fatty acid monomers to replace some of the styrene content in VE resins, were developed to provide composites with lower hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions. The properties of FAVE resins can be improved, and further reduction in styrene emissions can occur through replacement of some the fatty acid monomer and/or styrene with a non-HAP petroleum derived monomer. Mono- and di-functional non-HAP petroleum monomers were blended into fatty acid vinyl ester resins to decrease styrene content, reduce viscosity, and improve polymer properties. It was found that cyclohexyl methacrylate (CHMA) was the most effective reactive diluent in replacing methacrylated lauric acid (MLau) because it effectively reduced viscosity and improved thermal and mechanical properties. However, replacing styrene with CHMA resulted in a viscosity increase and polymer property decrease. All petroleum di-functional monomers were effective in reducing the viscosity through replacement of the MLau fraction. However, only hexanediol dimethacrylate (HDDMA) allowed further reduction in styrene content with little effect on viscosity and improved or similar polymer properties. Ignoring economics, using a small percent HDDMA to replace styrene or MLau is optimum and would result in improved resin and polymer performance. CHMA can be used to effectively reduce the MLau content in the formulations with improved resin and polymer performance, but would not allow for further reduction in styrene content. All of the other monomers investigated can result in some property improvements, but simultaneously result in other property reduction.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2009