Novel highly reactive and versatile monomers from Cardanol
Materials from renewable resources are presently gaining in importance worldwide. Nowadays, as a consequence of continuous increases in the price of crude oil and of discussion regarding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conventional materials have reached a price level and a questionable image which promotes the search of alternatives.
We have recently developed a wide range of innovative monomers and prepolymers starting from cardanol, a renewable and low-cost industrial grade oil obtained by vacuum distillation of "cashew nut shell liquid" (CNSL), extracted from the cashew of Anacardium Occidentale.
This natural phenol has interesting structural features amenable to chemical modification, thus allowing us, on one hand, to be polyol architects, namely custom-designing bio-based products with a variety of specifications and attributes. High reactivity, hydroxyl numbers, high bio-content combined with excellent compatibility make these polyols suitable for the preparation of rigid bio-polyurethane foams tailored to meet the needs of many applications in the insulation marketplace. On the other hand, to further expand the field of application, we have developed few cardanol based novolac scaffold, used in the formulation of thermosetting resins, by blending with a conventional epoxy resin, especially designed to be compatible with conventional bisphenol-A and bisphenol-F epoxy resins. These structures are liquid at room temperature and able to impart flexibility, hydrophobicity, high temperature resistance, resistance to acids and bases in cured epoxy resins, thus representing a valid alternative to standard reticulating agent and an ideal starting point for the development of bio-based composites.
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