Sustainable Synthetic Approaches for the Preparation of Plant Oil-Based Thermosets
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The good availability and high degree of functionalization possibilities of plant oils entitles them to be one of the most intensively studied renewable resources, especially in polymer science. However, in line with the principles of green chemistry, the use of renewable resources should be accompanied with catalytic procedures, comparably less or non-toxic chemicals, as well as reduction of waste and energy consumption to achieve an overall sustainable process. In this review, these aspects are addressed using the example of plant oil-based thermoset materials, which bear the advantage, in terms of sustainability, of not requiring a separation or purification step prior to polymerization. The direct homopolymerization of plant oils, as well as copolymerization, exclusively with other renewable resources, are highlighted. The sustainability of the synthesis of a broad range of thermosets including epoxy resins, polyurethane networks, polybenzoxazines and unsaturated polyesters is discussed.