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Bio-Based Resins, Coatings Developed from Common Crops

Sugar beet (USDA.gov)

Sugar beet, a feedstock for bio-based resins (USDA.gov)

Researchers at North Dakota State University in Fargo have developed a family of resins from renewable raw materials that eliminate hazardous components yet perform as well the originals. The team reported its findings earlier this year in the journal Biomacromolecules (paid subscription required).

The researchers led by Dean Webster, professor in the NDSU Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials, base their resins on sucrose and vegetable oils that can be varied to perform in many applications and industries. The resins, which have a patent pending, can be made from from sugarbeets, plus oils from soybeans, flax and sunflowers, all of which are grown in North Dakota.

When cured, according to Webster, the resins with increased renewable content show improved properties over other bio-based materials and processes, as well as mechanical properties comparable to petrochemical-based materials. Findings from Webster’s lab include an ultraviolet light-curable coating that cures approximately 10 times faster than existing UV-curable bio-based coatings.

Another of the bio-based resins has properties that make it suited for bio-composite materials, baking enamels, and structural adhesives. Still another resin demonstrates more hardness and resistance to solvents than petrochemical-based coatings.

The technology can be applied in areas where thermally cured materials are used, such as in protective coatings, structural adhesives, and composites. The new resins says Webster could be used in several industries including construction, architectural, biomedical, marine and electronics.

Read more: Israeli Prof. Develops Catalysts for Biodegradable Plastics

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