Justin Kennemur, an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University and lead author of the study, tells azom the resulting hard plastic is glassy and thermally stable. “One of the next goals is to learn some of the mechanical properties of these polymers. However, this material has many structural features that mirror the plastics we use every day, so there is promise for a multitude of applications,” Kennemur adds.
The sap plastic is made from alpha-pinene, which has interesting properties but, until FSU’s work, was difficult to convert into a polymer. The breakthrough came by converting alpha-pinene into delta-pinene, which was easier to polymerize. The development is particularly promising because sap can be harvested without felling the tree.
The work was published in a recent issue of ACS Macro Letter.