A coating from nature

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Science Advances  16 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabe0026
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe0026


For almost a century, petrochemical-based monomers like acrylates have been widely used as the basis for coatings, resins, and paints. The development of sustainable alternatives, integrating the principles of green chemistry in starting material, synthesis process, and product function, offers tremendous challenges for science and society. Here, we report on alkoxybutenolides as a bio-based alternative for acrylates and the formation of high-performance coatings. Starting from biomass-derived furfural and an environmentally benign photochemical conversion using visible light and oxygen in a flow reactor provides the alkoxybutenolide monomers. This is followed by radical (co)polymerization, which results in coatings with tunable properties for applications on distinct surfaces like glass or plastic. The performance is comparable to current petrochemical-derived industrial coatings.

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