Rheological and physical characteristics of bio-derived block co-polymers for adhesive applications
Over the past decade, due to the economic and environmental concerns about the excessive usage of oil and its unstable price, development of renewable resources such as vegetable oils as substitutes for petroleum-based products has received considerable attention. Recently, commercial synthesis of oil-based (e.g. soybean, corn, fish, etc.) polymers has prevailed in several applications including food packaging, biomedical devices, paints, coatings, adhesives, and many other applications. Commercial development of Poly-Styrene Poly-Acrylated Epoxidized Soybean Oil (PS-PAESO) as a bio-polymer is currently in progress through ongoing research at Iowa State University. This thesis focuses on investigating the commercial viability of PS-PAESO block copolymers for adhesive applications, in particular, Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs). A library of candidate materials has been synthesized based on the recommended formulations by industry experts, and the most important physical, rheological, and adhesion properties of the adhesives have been evaluated and compared to petroleum-based counterparts. The results indicate promising potential of the material to perform as well as the commercially available petrochemical PSAs. However, more comprehensive studies on several factors influencing the behavior of bio-renewable PSAs is recommended before commercialization.