United States. Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a method for using tannic acid to help create improved coatings, adhesives and manufacturing compounds. The Purdue team is using their discovery for epoxy-based polymers.
"There are few high-temperature hardeners that are sustainable," said Jeffrey Youngblood, a professor of materials engineering in Purdue's College of Engineering. "Our technology is designed to improve sustainability without sacrificing performance."
Epoxy polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including coatings, adhesives, structural composites, insulating materials, and electronics components. A hardening agent is added to the polymer to ensure stability and rigidity in high-temperature environments.
"We're using tannic acid as a hardener," Youngblood said. "It's more sustainable than other options, has less environmental impact and is relatively inexpensive."
Tannic acid is a known natural polyphenolic compound used in antioxidants. Youngblood said the team's tannic acid solution also proved to be stable and maintain the necessary stiffness when exposed to high temperatures. The other members of the research team include John Howarter, an associate professor of engineering, and Matthew Korey, a graduate researcher at the National Science Foundation.
"My research group is very involved in the development of sustainable materials," he said. "Sustainable materials often underperform, compromising public perception and market penetration. Here, such compensation is not necessary."
Youngblood previously worked on tannic acid technology to help make flame retardant materials. He said this new discovery opens up opportunities to continue that research on the use of tannic acid to retard fire.
The work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration of the university's global advances in sustainability as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. It's one of four themes of the year-long celebration Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual hub that solves real-world problems.
The researchers are working with the Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology. They are looking for additional partners and those interested in licensing the technology.
Data Source Provider: Purdue University.