Super-tough materials derived from inedible plants are lightweight, renewable and strong enough to use in vehicles
A new polymer blend made from castor beans is stronger and lighter than conventional structural materials, and researchers say it could improve the safety and fuel efficiency of cars.
Castor beans are notorious for containing the poison ricin, but it’s possible to turn them into polyamide 11, a thermoplastic from the nylon family of polymers. Now, scientists from Japan have developed a super-strong polymer blend by mixing polyamide 11 with the common household plastic polypropylene, that could replace many of the plastics we use today.
Scientists from University of Hyderabad, India have found that castor bean plants could help in remediation of areas where soil has been highly polluted with heavy metals due to industrial pollution.
Castor plants growing in these areas absorb toxic heavy metals from soil. Hence, castor bean plants can be grown in such polluted lands and over a period of time the levels of heavy metals can be reduced in the soil.
Research reports stated that when the castor bean plants growing in industrial areas were tested, roots of the plants were seen to contain lead in as high as 19.53 milligrams per gram of the root. Even leaves and stem of the plant were found to be containing lead but in smaller quantities.
Renewable resources are gaining special attention as substitutes for petroleum based products. Thus biobased polymers obtained from vegetable oils present a good, green alternative to fossil based polymers in terms of biodegradability and toxicity, thereby allowing their application for high value added and/or biomedical purposes.
In this study, Acyclic Diene Metathesis (ADMET) and thiol-ene miniemulsion polymerization method was followed to synthesize high molecular weight polymers. In addition to the chemical reactions leading to synthesis of high molecular weight polymers, miniemulsion polymerization method enabled the production of polymeric nanoparticles with unique characteristics and vast commercial interest.
Characteristic studies revealed that the synthesized nanoparticles did not present any cytotoxic effect on murine fibroblast (L929) and human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells and showed high blood biocompatibility.
EAI, the parent company of CastorOil.in, had been studying the bioplastics industry for the past few years and in the recent past we had the opportunity to look at the sector, in India and worldwide at close quarters.
Based on these, we have put together an exclusive team to provide strategic and market consulting for the global bioplastics industry.
Cellulose fibre reinforced composites are considered suitable alternative to plastic products due to the environmental problems caused by the latter. However, pure cellulose fibres have a high hydrophilicity. Moreover, the polar character of these fibres causes their low compatibility with partially or totally hydrophobic polymer matrices.
Owing to the poor wettability and adsorbability towards polymers, the surface modification of the fibres surface is essential, in order to improve the fiber/polymer compatibility and their interfacial adhesion. Hence researchers from France conducted a study to improve the properties of cellulose fibres by modifying the cellulose fibres with trialkoxysilane from castor oil.
Characteristic studies were carried out for the modified cellulose-castor oil polyurethane composites. Results showed that compared with the crude cellulose fibres, the organosilane treatment reduced the hydrophilicity of the natural fibres and increased the fiber/matrix compatibility.
Scientists from India performed an experiment where asphalt which is commonly used for road pavement was modified using castor oil based polyurethane to improve the properties of asphalt such as resistance to permanent deformation and to reduce the fatigue.
Polyurethane pre-polymer (PUP) was prepared by using castor oil and toluene diisocyanate (TDI). Asphalt modification was done using castor oil (C.O.) and PUP. Results showed that polymer modified asphalt showed improvement in properties such as hardness and softening point thereby making the pavement application smooth.
Scientists from Colombia performed an experiment where a kinetic model was developed for high CO2 pressure carbonation of epoxidized castor oil to be used in the production of thermoset polymers and non-isocyanate polyurethanes.
Carbonated castor oil was produced from the epoxidized oil at 100–130 °C and a constant pressure of CO2 (0.5 MPa). Because the polyfunctional character of the product, it could find applications as monomer and as a synthetic building block for other bio-based chemicals.
Scientists from India performed an experiment where they invented castor oil derived acrylic copolymers which can be used for surface coating applications.
Acrylic polyols containing hydroxy functional groups derived from castor oil were synthesized in the presence of an initiator. The synthesized resins when cured with suitable polyisocyanates or amino resin cross-linkers provided tough, glossy and chemical & weather resistant coatings.
Scientists from India performed an experiment to synthesize castor oil based acrylated derivatives to be used as potential lubricant basestocks. The acylated derivatives of castor oil, castor oil fatty acid methyl and 2-ethylhexyl esters were synthesized using different anhydrides in about 90–95% yield. All the products were structurally characterized using NMR and IR spectral data.
Results showed that castor oil could have use in hydraulic and metal working fluids and other industrial fluids with their wide range of properties.
Recent research shows production of jet fuel from ricinoleic acid methyl ester.
Experiments conducted earlier have shown the possibility of producing jet fuel from castor oil or hydro processing castor oil.
Now scientists from China have found that jet fuel could be produced from castor oil derived ricinoleic acid methyl ester. A unique hydroxyl group in the ricinoleic acid chain induced a special thermal rearrangement reaction in medium chain fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and heptanal formation. This reaction was used as a starting point for the production of jet fuel.
Results showed that the carbon selectivity in the castor oil to jet fuel process was as high as 90%.