Acrylic resin from lignin derivatives

October 17, 2019

Promise for plastics created from non-edible biomass

RIKEN CSRS and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have succeeded in developing an acrylic resin from lignin derivatives, which result from the decomposition of lignin, a major component of wood. To date, acrylic resins have been produced from petroleum.

The team used an organic acid–catalyzed group transfer polymerization (GTP) method with the α, βunsaturated carboxylic acid esters such as cinnamic monomers (known lignin derivatives), which have an aromatic substituent at the β-position. This method creates a homopolymer in which polymerization proceeds only at the carbon-carbon double bond sites in the monomer without involving the aromatic ring, which has been difficult to achieve. The new acrylic resin has the same polymer backbone as the existing acrylic resin poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA, with the aromatic substituent bonded to the ethylene carbon of the polymer main chain.

These research results are expected to contribute to a move away from non-renewable resources and contribute to the development of new plastic production systems to realize a sustainable society.

Original article
Communications Chemistry doi:10.1038/s42004-019-0215-3
M. Imada, Y. Takenaka, H. Hatanaka, T. Tsuge, H. Abe,
"Unique acrylic resins with aromatic side chains by homopolymerization of cinnamic monomers".
Hideki Abe; Team Leader
Yasumasa Takenaka; Research Scientist
Motosuke Imada; Research Fellow
Bioplastic Research Team