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Method Epoxidation of grapeseed oil to produce a resin. Amberlite and acetic acid were used in toluene as the solvent following a literature procedure. 1 T o give epoxidised grapeseed oil (EGSO) shown in figure 1. Further modification of the oil (to improve properties) such as;

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Method

Epoxidation of grapeseed oil to produce a resin. Amberlite and acetic acid were used in toluene as the solvent following a literature procedure.1 To give epoxidisedgrapeseed oil (EGSO) shown in figure 1.

Further modification of the oil (to improve properties) such as;

Co-polymerisations (in various ratios)

Maleination

Hydrolysation and methylation

Acylation

Vacuum molding to infuse resin over natural fibres

Curing of these novel resins using UV light (sunlight can be used to keep down energy consumption)

Preparation of samples for testing

Tensile testing of composites

Renewable Composites from Plant Oils and Natural FibresAlexandra Borrill, Stuart ColesWMG, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK Email:A.J.Borrill@warwick.ac.uk

Figure 1.

Results

The synthesis and modifications carried out to give a range of resins mostly worked well, some were not successful and some would not cure so these were not taken to the next step of the project.

There was no real difference in curing between using sunlight and a UV lamp in the lab.

Reasonably consistent tensile testing results were obtained for many of the composites tested (an example is shown in graph 1.), which were cured after vacuum molding the composites were stronger than both the woven flax and the resin alone (when cured as a polymer).

Introduction

Plastics, polymers, composites and related materials are widely used in everyday life, the majority of which are dependent on fossil fuels and its products for their synthesis. We are all aware of the disadvantages of fossil fuels, cost, environmental risks and depleting stocks, this means that there is a lot of research going into finding cheap and sustainable ways of making the products we need with similar properties to the non-renewable versions so they can be replaced.

The aim of this project was to develop composites from plant oils and natural fibres that are UV cured, produced from natural or renewable materials, utilizing minimal solvents and low energy processes wherever possible.

Graph 1.

Future Work

Further oil modification

Using and modifying different oils (e.g. Soyabean)

Further investigation (kinetics studies) into photocuring by sunlight.

Conclusion

Many resin mixtures produced promising composites that were stronger than their polymer and natural fibre counter parts. This is a good start to finding renewable replacements for many composites that are currently widely in use. Sunlight curing is a viable option for the photocuring of plastics and composites and is a good way to cut down energy consumption.

1. Epoxidation of soybean oil in toluene with peroxoacetic and peroxoformic acids – kinetics and side reactions, Zoran S. Petrovicet al. Eur. J. LipidSci. Technol. 104 (2002) 293–299