An intensive world-wide effort to develop technology for manufacturing plastics from vegetable oil, rather then petroleum, has led researchers in Canada to a process for making polyurethane (PUR) plastic sheets from canola oil.
In a study scheduled for publication in the July 9 issue of ACS’s Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal, Suresh S. Narine and Xiaohua Kong report on the properties of their vegetable-based PUR sheets.
PURs are a versatile group of plastics, widely used in liquid coatings and paints, adhesives, flexible foam in upholstered furniture, building insulation, shoes, and automotive interiors.The PUR sheets were produced with an improved version of a process in which canola oil is treated with ozone to make the chemical raw materials for PUR. Researchers described the process as low-cost without the need for complicated technology, and said that it produces PUR sheets with “excellent” mechanical properties.
“It is reasonable to believe that the vegetable-based PUR could be a potential candidate to replace or practically replace petroleum-based PUR, in sensitive and high end applications such as in the biomedical area,” the report said.
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