Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Polyols from Rapeseed Oil and Properties of Flexible Polyurethane Foams
Published: 10 August 2012
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The application of raw materials derived from renewable feedstock has given rise to growing interest recently, as it can be exploited for the production of bio-based materials from vegetable oils. Their availability, biodegradability and low prices have been taken into account. In this work, vegetable oil-based polyols as a prospective replacement for petroleum polyols were investigated. A two-stage method for polyol preparation by incomplete epoxidation of natural oils and subsequent complete oxirane ring opening under microwave irradiation is presented. The course of epoxidation and oxirane ring-opening process was determined analytically by an evaluation of iodine, epoxy and hydroxyl values. The samples of oils and their derivatives were also analyzed by FT-IR and characterized by size exclusion chromatography (SEC) in order to calculate their functionalities. Finally, polyols with two different hydroxyl values were obtained and used for the synthesis of flexible polyurethane (PUR) foams. The scope of this research includes the determination of the relationship between the rapeseed oil-based polyol content and the properties of the resulting materials. It was found that applying bio-based polyols in conjunction with petroleum-based polyols for PUR foams formulations resulted in materials with good mechanical properties and a higher number of cells with smaller dimensions.