May 11, 2010

Midwest Biopolymers & Biocomposites Workshop


Richard Larock

Novel Biobased Plastics, Rubbers, Composites, and Coatings from Agricultural Oils and By-products

The research group of Distinguished Professor Richard C. Larock at Iowa State University has discovered that a remarkable range of exciting new rubber, adhesive, elastomeric, and plastic materials can be made by the cationic, thermal, and free radical polymerization and copolymerization of regular, LoSat,and conjugated soybean oils with a number of readily available, commercial comonomers, including styrene, acrylonitrile, dicyclopentadiene, and divinylbenzene. These materials possess excellent thermal and mechanical properties, plus outstanding damping and shape memory properties.
Bioplastics from a range of other biological oils, including tung, corn, linseed, and fish oils, have also been prepared using this technology. In order to improve the polymer’s performance, fillers, such as glass fiber, kenaf fiber, organic clay, wood flour, and agricultural co-products, such as soy hulls and distillers dried grains and solubles, have been used to reinforce these vegetable oil resins. The resulting biocomposites are very promising, with significant improvement in the mechanical properties and thermal stability when compared with the resin alone. A number of novel new biobased waterborne coatings and adhesives have also been prepared from agricultural oils.


Richard Larock

Richard Larock

Distinguished Professor

Department of Chemistry

Iowa State University

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