Novel Polymerization Technology
Dr. Caneba has discovered a free-radical polymerization process that has the following features:
Polymer radical trapping mechanism
Capability of producing effective amounts of block copolymers
Polymer products with relatively narrow molecular weight distributions
We have used styrene-based hydrophilic-hydrophobic block copolymers as coupling agent for wood-polystyrene composites. The block copolymer can be produced in large quantities and delivered as a water-based self-emulsion. When wood fibers were are immersed or sprayed with the emulsion, the resulting dried wood material is mixed with polystyrene and blended to form a composite. The composite was demonstrated to have a dramatically higher level of toughness without sacrificing yield stress compared to the composite without the block copolymer coupling agent. The block copolymer could be used to produce composites from recycled polystyrene and wood or paper. It also has the potential as a surfactant.
We are currently developing a procedure that can be used to produce a poly(methyl methacrylate)-based hydrophilic-hydrophobic block copolymers. This material can be used as coupling agent for PVC-based composites.
We have developed a new type of hydrophilic-hydrophobic material that is being produced from inexpensive raw materials in a very efficient process operation. The material is delivered in a no-VOC water-based self-emulsion. It has a unique chemical makeup and it can be marketed as a low-cost surfactant that has a wide-range of HLB numbers. Since the hydrophilic portion of this material comes from an acid polymer that can be distributed along the chain or at the ends (one or two ends of the linear chain), then this material can be used in a formulation where the acid can be reacted with a suitable base material, such as in adhesives, epoxy systems, polyurethane formulations, etc.
From the above-mentioned hydrophilic-hydrophobic block copolymers, we have been able to generate silicone-containing blocks by reacting the hydrophilic parts with amino-silicones. These copolymers can be used to impart a very thin semi-permanent water-repellent and lubricating layer to polystyrene, poly(methyl methacrylate), polyvinylchloride, etc.
Emulsion-Based Organic Block Copolymers
We have been able to generate emulsions from polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate) radicals that can be reacted with other monomers. For example, emulsions containing very high molecular weight polystyrene-poly(butyl acrylate) and poly(methyl methacrylate)-poly(butyl acrylate) have been generated to produce a thermoplastic elastomer from the dried solid.
Poly(methyl methacrylate)-based emulsions have been generated and formulated as interior eggshell very low-VOC paints. Most of the paint properties compare to conventional interior eggshell paints, although wet scrub resistance indicates failure after about 600-1,000 cycles. Neat very low VOC emulsions were demonstrated to be useful as clear coatings for wood.