Submitted to: Biomacromolecules
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/19/2006
Citation: Liu, Z., Sharma, B.K., Erhan, S.Z. 2006. From oligomers to molecular giants of soybean oil in supercritical carbon dioxide medium: 1. Preparation of polymers with lower molecular weight from soybean oil. Biomacromolecules. 8:233-239.
Interpretive Summary: Worldwide potential demands for replacing petroleum-derived materials with renewable plant-based ones in production of valuable materials are quite significant from the social and environmental viewpoints. Natural oils are expected to be inexpensive renewable resources. United States agriculture annually produces one billion pounds of soybean oil in excess of current commercial demand. This excess capacity has resulted in lower prices for soybean oil as well as other agricultural commodities. Development of economically feasible new industrial products from soybean oil or commercial processes is highly desirable. Soybean oil is ideal alternative chemical feedstock. The purpose of this work is to prepare soybean oil based materials by "green" processing method. These materials will be used as lubricants and hydraulic fluids.
Technical Abstract: Polymers with lower molecular weight from soybean oil have been prepared in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) medium by cationic polymerization. Boron trifluoride diethyl etherate BF3.O (C2H5)2 is used as an initiator. Influences of polymerization temperature, initiator amount, and carbon dioxide pressure on the molecular weight were investigated. It is shown that the higher polymerization temperature favors the resulting polymers with relatively higher molecular weights. Larger amounts of initiator also provides the polymers with higher molecular weights. Higher pressure favors polymers with relatively higher molecules. The applications of these soy-based materials will be exploited in lubrication and hydraulic fluid areas.