Submitted to: Polymers and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 17, 2009
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
Citation: Liu, Z., Erhan, S.Z. 2010. Preparation of Soybean Oil Polymers with High Molecular Weight. Journal of Polymers and the Environment. 18:243-249. Interpretive Summary: Natural oils are expected to be inexpensive renewable resources. Development of new polymeric materials from soybean oil is highly desirable. The purpose of this work is to prepare polymers with high molecular weight by using a "green" processing method. The results show that soy polymers were obtained and reported. These high molecular weight polymers would be an alternative to petroleum based polymeric materials such as plastics and rubber materials.
Technical Abstract: The cationic polymerization of soybean oils was initiated by boron trifluoride diethyl etherate BF3.O(C2H5)2 in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) medium. The resulting polymers had molecular weight ranging from 21,842 to 118,300 g/mol. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) analysis confirmed the polymerization had occurred. Parameters affecting the polymerization were studied, which included initiator amount and reaction time. Results show that the longer reaction time, up to three hours, favored the higher molecular weight of polymers. When reaction time was increased further, the molecular weight of polymers stayed the same or slightly decreased. Increased concentration of initiator gave the higher molecular weight of polymers.