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Synthesis and characterization of novel polyurethanes based on aminolysis of poly(ethylene terephthalate) wastes, and evaluation of their thermal and mechanical properties



BACKGROUND: Much research is currently directed towards recycling post-consumer poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) products for both environmental and economic reasons. Aminolysis of PET wastes using different amines, such as allylamine, morpholine, hydrazine and polyamines, leads to different reaction products as diamides of terephthalic acid, which do not possess any potential for further chemical reactions. In the past, the use of ethanolamine has been investigated for the aminolytic degradation of PET waste in the presence of different simple chemicals such as sodium acetate as catalysts. The product obtained, bis(2-hydroxyethylene) terephthalamide (BHETA), has potential for further reactions to obtain useful products. Nevertheless, there has been no report on using recycled BHETA from PET to synthesize polyurethanes.

RESULTS: In this research the product of aminolysis of PET waste, BHETA, was prepared. Then novel polyurethanes were synthesized based on the BHETA prepared, 1,4-butanediol, ether-type polyol and various molar ratios of hexamethylene diisocyanate. To evaluate the effect of BHETA, the properties of the polyurethanes without and with BHETA were compared. Fourier transform infrared spectra, thermal transitions, degradation, swelling ratio and chemical resistance of the synthesized polyurethanes were investigated. Also, the polyurethanes were applied as adhesives on various substrates. Comparison of the maximum bond strength of the synthesized polyurethane to that of commercial adhesives shows an about 2.2-fold increase.

CONCLUSION: It is possible to synthesize new polyurethanes with interesting properties using BHETA as an aminolysis product of PET waste. These kinds of materials have potential for many applications, such as adhesives and coatings. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry