SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 61 , Issue 7 : 993-1000(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-017-9192-8

Rational design of sustainable polyurethanes from castor oil: towards simultaneous reinforcement and toughening

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  • ReceivedNov 14, 2017
  • AcceptedDec 21, 2017
  • PublishedJan 16, 2018


Sustainable polyurethanes prepared from castor oil and diisocyanates show very low strength and toughness, due to the highly cross-linked and flexible structure. Herein, we report a new strategy to simultaneously reinforce and toughen castor oil-based polyurethane via incorporating a stiff component (isosorbide, IS) to enhance network stiffness and reduce crosslink density. The crosslinking degree decreases while the strength, moduli, ductility and heat resistance significantly increase accordingly with increasing IS content. The tensile behaviors are tunable over a broad range (either as elastomers or as plastics) depending on the compositions. The polyurethanes show excellent thermal stability with onset decomposition temperature higher than 280°C. The investigation provides a new hint for future design and fabrication of high performance sustainable polymers from other vegetable oils.

Funded by

This work has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51703188)

the Basic and frontier research project of Chongqing(cstc2017jcyjAX0426)

the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(XDJK2017A016,XDJK2017C022)


This work has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51703188), the Basic and Frontier Research Project of Chongqing (cstc2017jcyjAX0426) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2017A016 and XDJK2017C022).

Interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

An XP, Li YD and Zeng JB conceived and designed the experiments and wrote the article. An XP and Chen JH carried out the experiments. All the authors contributed to the discussion of the investigation.

Author information

Xu-Pei An is a junior student majoring in Materials Science at Southwest University and his research project is high-performance modification of castor oil-based polymer networks.

Yi-Dong Li is an associate professor of Southwest University. She received her PhD degree in 2010 from Sichuan University supervised by Prof. Yu-Zhong Wang. Her research interests focus on sustainable polymer design.

Jian-Bing Zeng is a professor of Southwest University. He received his PhD degree in 2009 from Sichuan University supervised by Prof. Yu-Zhong Wang. His research interests focus on high performance modification and functionalization of biobased/biodegradable polymers. He has published more than 80 articles in international journal such as Macromolecules, ACS Macro Lett., Biomacromolecules, Polym. Rev., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., Chem. Eng. J., Polym. Chem., Sci. China Mater. and Polymer.


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