Method using renewable monomers to easily make decomposable and recyclable epoxy thermosets with similar properties as thermosets made with BPA.
Epoxy thermosets constitute one of the most widely used and versatile thermoset materials, as they possess incredible mechanical properties, chemical and thermal resistance and remarkable insulation. However, they are unable to be reshaped, reprocessed or recycled because of its infusible and insoluble nature after curing. Researchers have been studying how to make thermosets less inert by introducing dynamic covalent bonds into thermosetting materials, yet their processes require complex treatments like press heating, additional monomers or metal catalysts. In addition, recent literature on making thermosets reprocessable lacks effort in combating the use of bisphenol A (BPA), the most commonly used non-sustainable molecule in thermoset creation.
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have found a way to easily make epoxy thermosets decomposable and recyclable. Their method uses renewable monomers to form epoxy thermosets with similar properties as thermosets made with BPA and omits the need for complicated processing or additional ingredients. Furthermore, these epoxy thermosets are soluble in organic or aqueous solutions under mild conditions and preserve all thermomechanical properties after reforming.