Synthesis of unsaturated polyester resins from various bio-derived platform molecules

Thomas J. Farmer, Rachael L. Castle, James H. Clark*, Duncan J. Macquarrie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utilisation of bio-derived platform molecules in polymer synthesis has advantages which are, broadly, twofold; to digress from crude oil dependence of the polymer industry and secondly to reduce the environmental impact of the polymer synthesis through the inherent functionality of the bio-derived platform molecules. Bulk polymerisation of bio-derived unsaturated di-acids has been employed to produce unsaturated polyester (UPEs) which have been analysed by GPC, TGA, DSC and NMR spectroscopy, advancing on the analysis previously reported. UPEs from the diesters of itaconic, succinic, and fumaric acids were successfully synthesised with various diols and polyols to afford resins of MN 480-477,000 and Tg of -30.1 to -16.6 °C with solubilities differing based on starting monomers. This range of properties allows for many applications and importantly due to the surviving Michael acceptor moieties, solubility and cross-linking can be specifically tailored, post polymerisation, to the desired function. An improved synthesis of itaconate and succinate co-polymers, via the initial formation of an itaconate bis-diol, is also demonstrated for the first time, resulting in significantly improved itaconate incorporation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14912-14932
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 by the authors. This content is made available by the publisher under a Creative Commons CC-BY Licence.


  • Bio-derived platform molecules
  • Green chemistry
  • Itaconates
  • Michael addition
  • Polymerisation
  • Polymers
  • Renewable resources
  • Transesterification

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