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Recyclable thermosets based on modified epoxy-amine network polymers †

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The development of high performance, recyclable thermoset materials for applications in plastics, composites, coatings and adhesives requires a synthetic approach where recyclability is designed into the molecular structure of the material. This paper describes a single stage process for the creation of materials from simple, low-cost molecular building blocks, where the polymerisation of liquid epoxy resins and aliphatic amines in the presence of an n-butyl diboronic ester, delivers epoxy-amine-dioxazaborocane materials with tunable physical properties including glass transition temperature (Tg). Mechanical (thermal) recycling and reprocessing of the epoxy-amine-dioxazaborocane thermoset is demonstrated, with retention of Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength. Most notably, an efficient and low-cost process for the chemical recycling, disassembly and dissolution of the thermoset is demonstrated via two complementary processes using either pinacol (diol) or mono-functional phenylboronic ester.


Acknowledgements: The author acknowledges Northumbria University for the financial support of this research, Olin Epoxy for supporting the research through the provision of epoxy resins.


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The Royal Society of Chemistry
Northumbria University (Unassigned)