Whether in irons, crash helmets, aeroplanes or cars: synthetic resins, officially thermosetting polymers, have become an integral part of our everyday lives. However, both the production, typically from petroleum-based bisphenol-A, and the disposal of the non-recyclable materials are a burden on the environment. Katalin Barta Weissert, a researcher at the University of Graz, therefore wants to develop alternative methods for the production and recycling of thermosetting plastics made from renewable raw materials.
The StimulART project is dedicated to the most important scientific challenges in order to achieve sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of synthetic resins. "This is to be achieved by carefully designing the components from natural raw materials and by realising efficient low-temperature recycling," says Barta Weissert.
The basis for this is biomass from wood. Its structure and reactivity make it possible to easily obtain the building blocks that are suitable for the construction of a wide range of plastics, with a focus on synthetic resins. The researcher hopes that the project will revolutionise the use of renewable raw materials. This could secure a sustainable supply of urgently needed materials for European industry.