Funding: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (National R&D Programme for Societal Challenges)
Region: Spain
Project period: 2013 – 2015
Principal Investigator: Dr. De-Yi Wang (deyi.wang@imdea.org)

Epoxy resins are one of the most widely used and versatile compounds in the polymeric resins family. Globally, growing use of epoxy resins in the construction, electrical laminates, aerospace, etc, has been causing two considerable problems: recyclability and flammability. A thorough and comprehensive research campaign aiming at the study of high performance, eco-benign fire retardant, totally recyclable epoxy-based materials including its mechanisms has not been yet done. In order to fully understand the recycling mechanisms of the epoxy based materials and improve their fire retardancy, NETHIPEC project will aim at: i) designing and developing of novel multifunctional high reactivity curing agents constituted of controllable functional cross-linking groups on the wall of beta-cyclodextrin structures (easily recyclable after end of lifetime) and ii) studying the combination of molecular-level dispersion, multi-elements synergistic effect (P,Si,C,O) and gas-condensed phase intumescent fire retardant relying on the cavity of cyclodextrin (excellent fire retardancy). Thus, thorough understanding of the essential fire retardant mechanisms and degradable processes of epoxy resin, in this project the next generation of high performance epoxy-based materials will be developed with the natures of intrinsically non-toxic, strong reduction of fire risk, end of life without environmental impact and total recycling. In parallel, another ground-breaking idea on self-improvement will be also considered here: the regeneration of epoxy resin formed by recycled epoxy monomer that would provide even higher mechanical properties and better fire retardancy compared to its parent’s generation.

By successfully executing this pioneering research, the structural properties of high performance epoxy-based material will be fully undestood and revolutionary new knowledge on epoxy-based composites and fire retardant materialswill be produced. Upon completion of the NETHIPEC project, excellent fire retardancy and total recyclability of epoxy based materials will be made available to materials science and industry, becoming an important part of the solution of the persistent pollution from wasted thermoset materials and fully push their sustainable development. Therefore, besides the excellent academic value, it is foreseeable that this new knowledge will bring with it very important social and economic value. In this one year project, the research will focus on the study of multifuntional curing agent and its cured epoxy composites.

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