EffiMat cluster project focuses on innovative combination of reactive resins and cold-curing crosslinker

In the joint project “EffiMat – Multifunctional substitute materials for resource-efficient material concepts”, the six partners BARiT Kunstharz und Belagstechnik, Fraunhofer CBP, Fraunhofer IMWS, Hennecke PU Technology, Miltitz Aromatics and ö_konzept worked on the extraction of first-class raw materials on a natural basis in order to replace crude oil in the production of plastics. The aim was to produce products with a long service life using a minimum amount of material. The goal was to develop and establish foamed biopolymers or coatings and processing technologies adapted to these.

Biobased foams and coatings based on tall oil

The starting point for these efforts was the substance mixture tall oil, which is a by-product of pulp production and on the basis of which high-quality reactive resin systems can be produced by means of various synthetic preparation stages. Together with a crosslinker component, these could be cured to an extremely strong plastic.

A special high-pressure foaming process was used in the production of semi-finished foam products, in which the resin mixture was filled into an appropriate mould using a special mixing head and foamed by expanding a propellant gas. The foaming of the novel biopolymer finally resulted in high-quality construction and functional materials.

Innovative approaches and optimal value creation

The combination of tall oil and linseed oil epoxy in combination with a cold-curing crosslinker was a novel approach in the field of bio-based plastics and contributed to an optimal added value. This is because the anhydride hardener MBTHP used is – similar to tall oil – a by-product.

For example, Miltitz Aromatics obtains TMCDT as a by-product of the production of cyclic isoprene trimer TMCDT – and this in a quantity of a approx. ten tons per year. DMOT, which has so far not been used, can be converted into the hardener MBTHP by chemical reaction. Within the EffiMat project, therefore, two waste or by-products were returned to the production cycle, which reduces waste and procurement costs and at the same time enables resource-saving production.

Large-scale foam samples and material tests

The Fraunhofer IMWS and the Fraunhofer CBP had carried out numerous material and property tests to determine suitable formulations for reactive resin mixtures and hardeners and produced initial samples on the basis of these. After mechanical, thermomechanical and morphological characterization and optimization of the formulations, concrete product and processing tests had to be carried out by the users BARiT Kunstharz und Belagstechnik and Hennecke PU Technology.

BARiT, as a manufacturer of synthetic resin floors for industry and commercial kitchens, tested reactive resin bonded floor coverings, while Hennecke PU Technology tested foaming on a large scale with its high-pressure foaming plant.

t the same time, the ö_konzept agency worked in the field of marketing to transform the market information gained into a strategy for successful market communication and to increase market acceptance using various methods.

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