Polyurethanes plastic sheets and foams synthesized from aromatic triols

  • Author / Creator
    Dumont, Marie-Josée
  • Novel plastic sheets and foams from vegetable oil-based monomers were produced. These new polyurethanes were synthesized from aromatic polyols, with erucic acid as the starting material. These monomers have the unique feature of containing an aromatic ring which was hypothesized to improve the rigidity of the polyurethane matrices and the overall physical properties of the plastics and foams. The benefits of the aromatic ring were proposed to be enhanced due to three terminal primary hydroxyl groups within the structure of the polyols. Reactions to produce hexasubstituted benzene derivatives containing alcohol groups in positions 1,2,4- and 1,3,5- around the benzene ring were suitably scaled up to provide amounts necessary for polyurethane production and characterization. These isomers (asymmetric and symmetric triols) were separated using chromatography. The pure triols were crosslinked with 4,4’-methylenebis(phenyl isocyanate) into polyurethanes sheets (asymmetric and symmetric polyurethane respectively). The physico-chemical properties of these PUs were studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction,, differential scanning calorimetry dynamic mechanical analysis, thermogravimetric analysis coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and tensile analysis. The asymmetric polyurethane sheet and the symmetric polyurethane sheet differed in their glass transition temperatures and crosslinking densities. This variation could be explained by the differences in crosslinking densities, related to the increase in steric hindrance between adjacent hydroxyl groups of the asymmetric triol monomers. It was found that both polyurethanes had similar mechanical and thermal properties. Due to the similar properties of the asymmetric polyurethane and symmetric polyurethane sheets, the monomers were combined together in order to synthesize PU foams. The physical properties of these foams were studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, dynamic mechanical analysis, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and were analyzed for close cell content and compression strength. The effect of the benzene ring in the monomer structure on the physical properties of these new polyurethane foams was mainly compared with high density canola polyurethane foams previously investigated. It was demonstrated that the physical properties of polyurethane foams made with aromatic monomers are comparable to those made with aliphatic monomers when enhanced with glycerol.

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  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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