Flow Reactor Synthesis of Bio-Based Polyol from Soybean Oil for the Production of Rigid Polyurethane Foam

    • Kai Guo1
    • Zheng Fang2
    • Wei He2
    • Peng Kang3
    • Jingying Hao4
    • Hao Wu2
    • Yuchen Zhu5
    • 1College of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering and State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211816, China
    • 2College of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211816, China
    • 3SINOPEC Beijing Research Institute of Chemical Industry, Beijing 100013, China
    • 4The Research Institute of SINOPEC Co., Ltd, Tianjin Branch, Tianjin 10000, China
    • 5School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211816, China

    In this study, a complex ring-opening agent including benzoic acid pentaerythritol ester bearing an aromatic group and pentaerythritol monolaurate bearing a pendant chain was applied in the ring-opening process. Bio-based polyols were obtained through epoxidation in the fixed-bed flow reactor and ring-opening reaction in the flask. Integration of flow chemistry and batch reaction promoted the production of bio-based polyols. The resulting rigid polyurethane foams (PUF) were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetry analysis, and dynamic thermomechanical analysis. Higher mechanical strength and lower thermal conductivity coefficient were obtained when the combination of aromatic alcohol and aliphatic alcohol was applied in the preparation of rigid PUF. Meanwhile, better dimensional stability and higher glass-transition temperature were detected in PUF-bio-3/7. A series of research results demonstrated that rigid PUF derived from this bio-based polyol displayed better properties compared with those of rigid PUF derived from commercially available petroleum-based polyether polyol 4110.

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