June 16, 2020
A new type of industrial resin made from chemicals extracted from corn is being developed at South Dakota State University.
It’s called a thermoset resin. Unlike other resins, it doesn’t expand or contract when heated. It could be used to produce durable heat-resistant plastic materials used in automobile panels; agriculture machinery components, including gaskets; and other parts.
Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, a distinguished professor at SDSU, formulated the star-shaped resins using chemicals extracted during corn ethanol fermentation. A doctoral student and a master’s student also worked on the project.
The research was funded partly through a nearly $100,000 grant from the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center. Muthukumarappan also received $25,000 in 2018 from the first National Corn Growers Association’s Consider Corn Challenge. The SDSU project was one of six finalists among 38 entries in the worldwide competition.
RESEARCH MONEY: Jim Bauman, vice president of market development for the National Corn Growers Association (left) and Bruce Peterson, then-chairman of the NCGA’s feed, food and industrial action team, present Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, South Dakota State University distinguished professor, with $25,000 to support his corn-based resin research.
“This is an indication of the potential value of this research,” Muthukumarappan says.
The automotive industry alone uses an estimated 90,000 tons of unsaturated polyester annually, a specific type of thermoset resin made from petroleum products. Based on raw material costs, corn-based resins may be half the price of petroleum-based resins.
If corn-based bioresins captured even 1% of this market, the revenue share could be about $1.6 million annually, Muthukumarappan says.
It also may be possible to produce resins using chemicals from soybean oil.
Delfanian writes for SDSU.
Read more about:Ethanol
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