New Article: Facile synthesize of phosphorus containing sustainable bio molecular platform from vanillin for the production of mechanically strong and highly flame-retardant resins

A new article out of Ning Yan’s lab has been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering written by Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Martin Feng and Ning Yan

In this article a novel vanillin-based building block was used for synthesizing flame-retardant bio-based epoxy and polyurethane resins.

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Facile Synthesis of a Phosphorus-Containing Sustainable Biomolecular Platform from Vanillin for the Production of Mechanically Strong and Highly Flame-Retardant Resins Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Martin Feng, Ning Yan*
ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2020, Publication Date: November 18, 2020


A novel chemical architecture, vanillin based phosphorus containing flame-retardant building block (VP)  was successfully synthesized as a sustainable platform biomolecule to be converted into  fire-retardant epoxy (VPE) and polyurethane (VPU) resins for application as environmentally-friendly adhesives. Structural characterizations confirmed the successful functionalization through their molecular structures. A series of VPU and VPE blends were prepared that showed excellent dry and wet bonding strengths and superior self‐extinguishing fire‐retardancy. The highest bonding strength of VPE80 for dry, cold and hot water treatment were noted about 3.64, 3.62 and 3.35 MPa respectively and the best fire‐retardant properties with the maximum LOI value of 29.6% and the lowest heat release rate according to cone calorimetry tests, due to the strong synergistic interpenetrating networks formed between the epoxy and PU macromolecules. The GC-MS analysis of the char residues indicated that the mechanisms for fire-retardancy were a combination of the quenching effect from the phosphorus-containing free radicals and the diluting effect of the non-flammable gases in the gas phase, plus the formation of phosphorus-rich char layers in the condensed phase. This study showcased a highly promising approach to develop environmentally-friendly high-performance fire-retardant chemicals using non-toxic vanillin as the starting material.