Performance Advantaged ..beta..-Ketone Containing Polymers - Benefits in Manufacturing, Performance, and End-of-Life

Research output: NRELPresentation


Biomass derived chemicals can possess extended functionality, often in the form of heteroatoms like oxygen and nitrogen, that can enable performance advantaged properties in emergent materials. These performance advantages can manifest in multiple ways such as reduced manufacturing intensity, better performance, or enhanced end-of-life options. One illustrative example of this concept is ..beta..-ketoadipic acid (..beta..KA), a C6 dicarboxylic acid with a ketone in its backbone. ..beta..KA can be obtained via biological cultivation from aromatic compounds, sugars, and even waste plastics. When ..beta..KA is implemented into polymers, namely nylons, in place of adipic acid the overall material properties are increased. Specifically, the glass transition temperature (which is the measurement at which temperature a plastic softens) is increased by 69 degrees C and the water permeability is reduced by 20%. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations reveal that the ..beta..-ketone in ..beta..KA leads to restricted movement across multiple backbone carbons when compared to adipic acid. Furthermore, MD simulations reveal that the ..beta..-ketone, when compared to no-ketone or an a-ketone, can lead to an increase in hydrogen bonding between neighboring chains. Both phenomena may help explain the molecular origin of the increases in polymer performance. When implemented into polyesters, namely PET, ..beta..KA can maintain the requisite performance while enabling enhanced degradation. Aside from performance advantages in thermomechanical performance, the production of ..beta..KA also is advantaged in its manufacturing. Although estimates for the minimum selling price (MSP) of ..beta..KA exceed adipic acid the manufacture of ..beta..KAwould reduce supply chain energy and GHG emissions by >50% and >30% respectively. Further TEA analysis reveals that the MSP of ..beta..KA is primarily driven by the feedstock cost while the capital expenditures are driven largely by fermentation costs. Overall, the work presented within will be illustrative of how biomass derived molecules, namely ..beta..KA, can manifest performance advantages across multiple benchmarks and may enable a path to market for biomass-derived materials.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages29
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the International Workshop of MOONSHOT-ItoPJ, 5 August 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2800-83564


  • bioderived
  • performance advantaged
  • polymers
  • recyclable by design


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