Renewable polymers from natural resources

by | Nov 1, 2012

Scientists from the USA and China report on the development of monomers and polymers from terpenes, terpenoids, and rosin.

Today, plastics are an indispensible part of our daily life – they appear in almost everything we use, including clothing, furniture, packaging, and transportation. The use of these plastic materials consumes about 7% of the global production of fossil fuel. As the non-renewable fossil fuel is finite and will exhaust within the next century, the development of green polymers from renewable natural resources will play an ever-increasing role for future generations toward a sustainable society. Due to these concerns, there is significant research going on with the aim of developing synthetic polymeric materials from renewable sources based on sustainability.

The Tang group (University of South Carolina, USA) now reports progress in renewable polymers from natural terpenes, terpenoids and rosin. These natural resources are a class of hydrocarbon-rich biomass derived from plants and trees with great abundance and low cost, holding much potential for utilization as organic feedstocks for green plastics and composites. Together, these natural resources amount to more than 1.5 million tons per year in the world – their use could have a very positive impact on the industry of engineering polymers and rubbers.