Functionalized Polydicyclopentadiene (fPDCPD) Polymers
Modify specific physical and mechanical properties of traditional PDCPD while retaining all of its desirable properties.
Traditional PDCPD is a thermoset polymer that has broad uses, including in the manufacturing of body parts for automobiles, heavy trucks and construction equipment. Its durability comes from being heavily crosslinked, with strong bonds between long chains of carbon. A part made of PDCPD is effectively one huge molecule. Traditional polydicyclopentadiene (PDCPD) is an impact-, heat-, chemical- and corrosion-resistant, lightweight, high-performance plastic used for three decades in demanding conditions. The widespread use of PDCPD is hindered, however, by the lack of modifiable chemical functionality in the polymer, which limits its range of properties. For example, it is limited by a low surface energy, which makes the application of adhesives and paints difficult and has limited application with reinforcing fibres. In addition, there is currently no recycling method for PDCPD that has been employed by industry.
Researchers at the University of Victoria (UVic) have shown how to add variable functional groups to PDCPD’s parent monomer. This addition yields a functionalized PDCPD (fPDCPD) product, increases the polymer’s performance and allows it to be customized for more efficient processing and a wider range of uses, including, but not limited to more varied parts for lightweight electric vehicles and medical equipment.
To broaden the utility of the industrially important polymer, PDCPD, researchers at the University of Victoria have created a series of first and second-generation functionalized DCPD monomers. With our second-generation product, by adding a single atom we can effectively upgrade PDCPD’s mechanical properties. The resulting monomers can be polymerized and crosslinked to produce fPDCPD polymers that outperform traditional PDCPD with exceptional thermal and mechanical properties. Our second generation products demonstrate a high storage modulus (~ 1 GPa), high Tg (~ 170 °C), low density (~ 1 g/cm3), high tensile strength (~ 50 MPa) and good Young’s modulus (1–2 GPa) while maintaining strength and do not become brittle. fPDCPD is easily synthesized into large, strong, and light pieces by reaction injection moulding (RIM) and can be used in a variety of industries. An additional feature of fPDCPD is that the crosslinks are chemically reversible. This reversibility provides a pathway for fPDCPD products to be recycled in the future, unlike their unfunctionalized counterparts. Work is underway to optimize a low cost and commercially transferable scale-up process for second-generation fPDCPD and enhance its performance with a frontal ring-opening metathesis polymerization (FROMP) approach.
- Mechanical and physical properties of traditional PDCPD are improved (upgraded storage modulus, Tg, hardness and tensile strength).
- No unpleasant odour, which increases potential for interior applications.
- fPDCPD polymers and co-polymers are a cost-effective way to develop new materials for a variety of applications.
- Compatible with industrial processes, including Reaction Injection Moulding (RIM), or frontal polymerization (FROMP) for lower-energy manufacturing.
- Compatible with reinforcing fibers.
- Possibilities for frontal polymerization for low-energy manufacturing.
- Reversible crosslinks open pathways for development of a recycling processes.
Examples of demonstrated functionality include:
- Ability to fine tune surface energy: Increase surface energy to improve the application of adhesives and coatings or decreases surface energy to inhibit microorganism adhesion
- Chemical handles to attach dyes which provides an option for coloring the polymer
- Chemical handles to attach drug molecules to create a direct-dosing polymer support (such as releasing antibiotic in the presence of bacteria)
- Enhanced ballistic/impact performance and energy dissipation
- Clean technology.
- Medical devices.
- Automotive industry.
- Collaborative research.
- U.S. Patent No. 10,344,110
- US Provisional 63/221, 718
- Development partner