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Furan resin based lightweight high performance novel biocomposite material

Dwindling non-renewable fossil-fuel based resources and increasing environmental pollution have motivated the researchers to focus on the development of environmentally friendly, biobased materials from renewable resources. In this context, biocomposites composed of bioresins and natural fibre reinforcements are interesting materials. This has motivated us to focus on developing novel biocomposites from furan derivative and tung oil based bioresin using cellulose nanofibres as the reinforcement.

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Natural resins are viscous materials mainly derived from plants. Due to unstable nature they cannot be used for commercial purposes, and consequently, synthetic resins dominate the market. The common thermosetting resins used in various industries, including, unsaturated polyester, epoxy, vinyl ester and phenolic, are not environmentally friendly materials.

To address these environmental concerns, bioresins are developed from natural resources, e.g. agricultural biomass, vegetable oils etc. However, very few bioresins are available commercially in large scale for industrial applications.

Furan resin is condensate of furfuryl alcohol which is synthesized from agricultural or forest wastes containing pentoses. This resin offers several advantages including abundant resources, high chemical resistance, excellent heat stability, and inherent flame retardant properties. These properties make it an important raw material for manufacturing corrosion-resistant materials. The speciality of furan polymers lies in the chemistry of furan ring which allows electrophilic substitution, incorporation of photosensitive chromophores, synthesis of conjugated oligomers and polymers, and functionalization via Diels Alder (DA) reaction as diene. However, the drawbacks associated with furan polymers (brittleness, lack of reliable data on mechanical properties, and inefficient condensation polymerization) have limited its application in large industries. Hence, significant improvements are required before it can be considered for industrial scale applications. 

External researchers

  • Sunanda Sain