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Biobased Polyurethane Foams Based on New Polyol Architectures from Microalgae Oil

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journal contribution
posted on 06.08.2020, 22:00 by Julien Peyrton, Clémence Chambaretaud, Alexandru Sarbu, Luc Avérous
Environmental concerns continuously drive research to find alternatives to fossil-based constituents in a greener way. Industrial polyurethane (PU) foams are usually obtained from the polyaddition reaction between fossil-based polyols and polymeric 4,4′-methylene bis­(phenyl isocyanate). The very recent development at the industrial scale of microalgae production provides accessibility to original building blocks and new macromolecular architectures. In this study, the green chemistry principles were highly prioritized to synthesize different polyols from microalgae oil. The resulting microalgae-derived polyols were structurally, chemically, and physically characterized and then compared. PU foams were synthesized using a conventional fossil-based polyol substituted incrementally by microalgae-derived polyols. The corresponding cellular materials were extensively characterized in terms of reactivity, morphology, and performances and then compared to conventional foams. A new biobased foam formulation containing 25 wt % biobased polyols matched the compliance levels of a fossil-based reference foam. For the first time, a catalyst-free foam with a similar density as the reference was achieved with a biobased triglyceride catalytic polyol.

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