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Research Lab Develops Fossil Fuel-Free Primer

Thursday, February 8, 2018

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Scientists in Germany say they have developed a way to use a biobased material, lignin, as a binder for paint primers, opening the door to a potential new type of corrosion-resistant coating that would use renewable materials in place of petrochemicals.

A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM, in Bremen, says that lignin, a byproduct of paper and bioethanol production, is available in great volume and has long been of interest to researchers hoping to replicate the properties of petrochemical binders.

Lignin in primers
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM have developed a way to stabilize lignin, an organic polymer, and use it to formulate primers.

Lignin is a naturally occurring polymer found in plants, the second-most common in the world after cellulose. Lignin is a key factor in the strength of wood and tree bark.

A New Approach

"Most previous approaches were based on producing lignin monomeric starting materials, which always have the same properties. Due to the different composition of the starting material, this is quite complex," explains Yvonne Wilke, of Fraunhofer IFAM. "We took a different approach by standardizing and modifying the whole substance. This gives us a raw material that we can say is always the same within certain limits."

The Fraunhofer approach, the scientists say, allows for properties including corrosion resistance, adhesion and applicability that largely mirror those of traditional petrochemical-based primers.

Both consumer demand and government regulations have sped the drive for biobased materials to replace fossil-fuel substances in the coatings industry and beyond, the team notes, and the use of a lignin-based primer or paint could reduce the carbon footprint of consumer products like cars.

   

Tagged categories: Bio-based materials; Coating chemistry; Coatings Technology; Primers; Research and development; Resins

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