Fatty Acid-Based Monomers as Styrene Replacements for Liquid Molding Resins

Report No. ARL-RP-94
Authors: John J. La Scala, James M. Sands, Joshua A. Orlicki, Giuseppe R. Palmese, *
Date/Pages: May 2005; 16 pages
Note: *Department of Chemical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104. A reprint from Polymer, Vol. 45, pp. 7729?7737, October 2004.
Abstract: One method of reducing styrene emissions from vinyl ester (VE) and unsaturated polyester resins (UPE) is to replace some or all of the styrene with fatty acid-based monomers. Methacrylated fatty acid (MFA) monomers are ideal candidates because they are inexpensive, have low volatilities, and free-radically polymerize with vinyl ester. The viscosity of VE resins using these fatty acid monomers ranged from 700?2000 cP, which is considerably higher than that of VE/styrene resins (~100 cP). In addition, the Tg of VE/MFA polymers were only on the order of 80 ?C, which is significantly lower than that of VE/styrene polymers. Decreasing the length of the base fatty acid chains from 18 to 12 carbon atoms improved the Tg by 20 ?C, while lowing the resin viscosity from ~2500 to ~1000 cP. Residual unsaturation sites on the fatty acid backbone decreased the cure rate of the resins thereby decreasing polymer properties. Ternary blends of VE, styrene, and fatty acid monomers also effectively improved the flexural, fracture, and thermo-mechanical properties and reduced the resin viscosity to acceptable levels, while using less than 15 wt% styrene, far less than commercial VE resins.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2005