RAFT thermoplastics from glycerol: a biopolymer for development of sustainable wood adhesives

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Forrester, Michael
Becker, Andrew
Hohmann, Austin
Hernandez, Nacu
Lin, Fang-Yi
Bloome, Nicholas
Johnson, Grant
Dietrich, Hannah
Marcinko, Joe
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Royal Society of Chemistry
Cochran, Eric
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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The increasing demand for bioderived plastics and rubbers and the large supply of glycerol makes it an excellent starting chemical for the production of biopolymers. Little success in commercially viable glycerol polymers has yet to be realized. In particular, high molecular weight thermoplastics have been especially elusive due to the multifunctional nature of glycerol. This work details the production of glycerol–acrylic biopolymers. By esterifying glycerol with acrylic acid, and subsequent RAFT polymerization to suppress the gelation, we were able to achieve glycerol thermoplastics with high molecular weights (1 MDa). After studying the thermal/mechanical properties of the polymer, it was found that these glycerol polymers had a high degree of tack. When added to wood as an adhesive, it was found that performance was comparable or exceeded standard wood adhesives such as Poly (Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) (PMDI) and formaldehyde based adhesives. This yields wood adhesives that have less toxicity, lower environmental impact, and higher renewability.
This article is published as Forrester, Michael, Andrew Becker, Austin Hohmann, Nacu Hernandez, Fang-Yi Lin, Nicholas Bloome, Grant Johnson et al. "RAFT thermoplastics from glycerol: a biopolymer for development of sustainable wood adhesives." Green Chemistry 22, no. 18 (2020): 6148-6156. DOI: 10.1039/D0GC01831G. Copyright 2020 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Posted with permission.