The proposed research aims at developing (new) affordable, valuable long chain α,ω bifunctional monomers for condensation reactions, sustainably produced, and provide demonstration samples, in view of filing a patent application with parallel industrial valorization. The envisioned monomers will yield new materials, polymers in particular, with unprecedented physicochemical, thermal and mechanical properties compared to existing short (max. C10 chains) α,ω bifunctional condensation monomers. Moreover, the newly developed materials are expected to be biodegradable, and offer opportunities for chemical recycling. To date, monomers comparable to our envisioned monomers can only be produced at low carbon efficiencies and high economic and environmental cost.
In contrast, we propose a new synthesis route, complying to green chemistry principles, yielding long (C18+) α,ω bifunctional monomers, as well as their asymmetric versions, and a synthesis route for chain length extension and even doubling. The latter two processes were thus far (industrially) neither known nor feasible. Monomers with such long or doubled chain length were unprecedented to date. The feasibility of our proposed synthesis route has already been demonstrated by preliminary experiments. The performance of such new C18 polyester structures will be benchmarked against that of traditional (short chain) alternatives.
A second phase focuses on longer (C18+) chains. In the latter case an ether molecule from two fatty chains, terminated on both sides, will be obtained. The total length of the chain between two functional groups is intended to be long, meaning at least 18 atoms. We hypothesize that the presence of the ether-oxygen internally does not fundamentally alter the chain structure, resulting in similar properties as an equivalent homogeneous carbon chain. The properties of the associated newly obtained oligomers and polymers will be assessed, and the data obtained will serve as examples for a patent application.
In a third phase the production process will be optimized (e.g. with respect to cost structure) for a selection of monomers, i.e. those with the highest industrial demand. These monomers will be produced and supplied in larger quantities as demonstration samples, in light of prompting industrial valorization. First cost estimates will be made.