skip to main content


Title: Renewable unsaturated polyesters from muconic acid

cis,cis-Muconic acid is an unsaturated dicarboxylic acid that can be produced in high yields via biological conversion of sugars and lignin-derived aromatic compounds. Muconic acid is often targeted as an intermediate to direct replacement monomers such as adipic or terephthalic acid. However, the alkene groups in muconic acid provide incentive for its direct use in polymers, for example, in the synthesis of unsaturated polyester resins. Here, biologically derived muconic acid is incorporated into polyesters via condensation polymerization using the homologous series of poly(ethylene succinate), poly(propylene succinate), poly(butylene succinate), and poly(hexylene succinate). Additionally, dimethyl cis,cis-muconate is synthesized and subsequently incorporated into poly(butylene succinate). NMR measurements demonstrate that alkene bonds are present in the polymer backbones. In all cases, the glass transition temperatures are increased whereas the melting and degradation temperatures are decreased. In the case of poly(butylene succinate), utilization of neat muconic acid yields substoichiometric incorporation consistent with a tapered copolymer structure, whereas the muconate diester exhibits stoichiometric incorporation and a random copolymer structure based on thermal and mechanical properties. Prototypical fiberglass panels were produced by infusing a mixture of low molecular weight poly(butylene succinate-co-muconate) and styrene into a woven glass mat and thermally initiating polymerization resulting in thermoset composites withmore » shear moduli in excess of 30 GPa, a value typical of commercial composites. The increased glass transition temperatures with increasing mucconic incorporation leads to improved composites properties. We find that the molecular tunability of poly(butylene succinate-co-muconate) as a tapered or random copolymer enables the tunability of composite properties. Altogether, this study demonstrates the utility of muconic acid as a monomer suitable for direct use in commercial composites.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2168-0485
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 2168-0485
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) (SC-27)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; composites; muconic acid; poly(butylene succinate); unsaturated polyester
OSTI Identifier: