Novel aromatic monomers from biomass
Aromatic monomers, like terephthalic acid, can provide excellent thermal and mechanical properties when incorporated into polymers. Most aromatic monomers are now fossil feedstock based and few biobased alternatives are available.
Novel aromatic monomers from biomass preferably provide added functionality as compared to fossil-based monomers to be considered a viable alternative. Added functionality in monomers can be achieved in several ways, one of which is modifying conventional aryl systems by substitutions. This research project focusses on the synthesis and development of such new substituted aromatics from biomass which can be incorporated into polymers with added functionality. The objective is to provide scalable synthesis routes to novel monomers and determine their effect on the properties of polymers containing them.
The highest bulk biobased aromatic monomer on the market prospected right now is furan dicarboxylic acid. This monomer has to find its applications in polyesters with beneficial properties compared to fossil based aromatic monomers. Other bio-based aromatic monomers are not widely or commercially available. We envision this empty space as an opportunity to develop novel aromatic monomers from biomass to create a broader variety on novel functionalities in materials.
Biobased aromatics will enable a move to a more sustainable plastic economy while providing new functions to polymers which high-end applications. Possible applications include self-healing materials, conductive materials, ion exchange materials and will find use in new biomedical devices, sensors and micro-electronics.