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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 936973, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/936973
Research Article

Isocyanate Reduction by Epoxide Substitution of Alcohols for Polyurethane Bioelastomer Synthesis

1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, W2033 Lafferre Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2Department of Biological Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, 248 AE Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Received 10 June 2011; Accepted 23 July 2011

Academic Editor: Cyrille Boyer

Copyright © 2011 Arnold A. Lubguban et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A phosphate ester-forming reaction was carried out by mixing epoxidized soybean oil with up to 1.5% o-phosphoric acid. In situ oligomerization took effect almost instantly producing a clear, homogeneous, highly viscous, and a low-acid product with a high average functionality. The resulting epoxide was used as a reactant for urethane bioelastomer synthesis and evaluated for rigid foam formulation. Results have shown that with a number of catalysts tested phosphoric acid significantly enhances a solvent-free oxirane ring cleavage and polymerization of the epoxidized soybean oil via phosphate-ester formation at room temperature. The resulting phosphoric acid-catalyzed epoxide-based bioelastomer showed an 80% decrease in extractable content and increased tensile strength at the same isocyanate loading relative to the noncatalyzed epoxide. The oligomerized epoxidized soybean oil materials exhibited ASTM hydroxyl values 40% less than the nonoligomerized starting material which translates to reduced isocyanate loadings in urethane applications.