Synthesis of novolac-type phenolic resins using glucose as the substitute for formaldehyde



Novel Novolac type phenolic resins were prepared using glucose as the substitute for toxic formaldehyde (a carcinogenic chemical). The resins were synthesized with varying molar ratios of phenol to glucose, catalyzed by strong acid (such as sulfuric acid) at 120–150°C. Analysis of the resins using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) showed that they were broadly distributed oligomers derived from the Fridel-Crafts condensation of phenol and glucose. Using hexamethylenetetramine (HMTA) as the curing agent, the phenol-glucose resins could be thermally cured and exhibited exothermic peaks at 130–180°C, typical of thermosetting phenolic resins. The cured resins showed satisfactory thermal stability, e.g., they started to decompose at >280°C with residual carbon yields of above 58% at 600°C. Based on the thermal properties, phenol-glucose resin with a molar ratio of 1 : 0.5 is promising as it could be cured at a lower temperature (147°C) and exhibited a satisfactorily good thermal stability: it started to decompose at >300°C with a residual carbon yield of >64% at 600°C. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010