Synthesis, Characterization, and Recycling of Bio-Derivable Polyester Covalently Adaptable Networks for Industrial Composite Applications

Chen Wang, Avantika Singh, Erik Rognerud, Robynne Murray, Grant Musgrave, Morgan Skala, Paul Murdy, Jason DesVeaux, Scott Nicholson, Kylee Harris, Richard Canty, Fabian Mohr, Alison Shapiro, David Barnes, Ryan Beach, Robert Allen, Gregg Beckham, Nicholas Rorrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) are critical for energy-relevant applications such as wind turbine blades. Despite this, the end-of-life options for FRPs are limited as they are permanently cross-linked thermosets. To enable the circularity of FRPs, we formulated a bio-derivable polyester covalently adaptable network (PECAN), sometimes referred to as a polyester vitrimer, to manufacture FRPs at >1 kg scale, which is accomplished as the resin is infusible (175-425 cP at 25 degrees C viscosity), can be cured at 80 degrees C within 5 h and is depolymerizable via methanolysis yielding high-quality fibers and recoverable hardener. The FRPs exhibit a transverse tensile modulus comparable with today's wind relevant FRPs (10.4-11.9 GPa). Modeling estimates a resin minimum selling price of $2.28/kg and, relative to an epoxy-amine resin, PECAN manufacture requires 19%-21% less supply chain energy and emits 33%-35% less greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, this study suggests that redesigned thermosets can yield beneficial circularity.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)550-568
Number of pages19
JournalMatter
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-87214

Keywords

  • bioderived polymers
  • chemical recycling
  • circular economy
  • fiber-reinforced composites

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