SBIR Phase I: Bio-Based Latex by Emulsion Polymerization of Alkyl Itaconates
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will investigate the development of performance bio-based latex from alkyl itaconates for application in wood coatings. Identified by DOE in 2004 as a top 12 renewable chemical, itaconic acid and its derivatives have potential use in polymers for a variety of products from builders in detergents to binders in paints and coatings. Itaconix has successfully produced stable alkylitaconate bio-based latexes using its patent-pending green emulsion polymerization process. The current performance of these latexes is not sufficient to overcome marketplace inertia favoring the well-established petroleum-based latexes.This research will combine a new model-based approach and Itaconix?s existing polymer expertise to (a) identify the key synthesis parameters necessary to enhance cohesion and adhesion and (b) minimize hydroplastization effects. The key to controlling these parameters is to optimize the morphology of the structured latex particles. The goal is to create core-shell type geometries where a hard core acts like a hydrophobic reinforcement domain and the soft shell provides film-forming properties. The Broader Impact/commercial potential of this project will be market acceptance and use for optimized alkylitaconate latexes that offer superior price/performance over current latexes in certain wood coatings. With this commercial breakthrough, we will open the potential for developing favorable bio-refining economics and leveraging efficient latex production technologies that will enable broader use of bio-latexes. While bio-based chemicals rapidly capture the interest of customers and generate application testing, they rarely command more than a slight price premium over petroleum-based chemicals. To succeed commercially and reduce our dependence on petroleum, bio-based latexes need to offer compelling price/performance advantages.Current paint and coatings manufacturers face wide price variations from petroleum-based monomers and latexes, often requiring costly product reformulations and adjustments. A long-term expected advantage from bio-based materials is more stable sourcing and formulations. Our research is expected to generate initial market acceptance and use for optimized alkylitaconate latexes that offer superior price/performance over current latexes in certain wood coatings. With this commercial breakthrough, we will open the potential for developing favorable bio-refining economics and leveraging efficient latex production technologies that will enable broader use of bio-latexes.
Small Business Information at Submission:
86 Exeter Rd Hampton Falls, NH 03844-2006
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