Maleic anhydride modified soybean- and castor-oil-based monomers, prepared via the malination of the alcoholysis products of the oils with various polyols, such as pentaerythritol, glycerol, and bisphenol A propoxylate, were copolymerized with styrene to give hard rigid plastics. These triglyceride-based polymers exhibited a wide range of properties depending on their chemical structure. They exhibited flexural moduli in the 0.8–2.5 GPa range, flexural strength in the 32–112 MPa range, glass transition temperatures (Tg) ranging from 72 to 152°C, and surface hardness values in the 77–90 D range. The polymers prepared from castor oil exhibited significantly improved modulus, strength, and Tg values when compared with soybean-oil-based polymers. These novel castor and soybean-oil-based polymers show comparable properties to those of the high-performance unsaturated polyester (UP) resins and show promise as an alternative to replace these petroleum-based materials. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 102: 1497–1504, 2006
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