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Shades of Green: Life Cycle Assessment of a Urethane Methacrylate/Unsaturated Polyester Resin System for Composite Materials

Chard, Jonathon M, Basson, Lauren, Creech, Gavin, Jesson, David and Smith, Paul (2019) Shades of Green: Life Cycle Assessment of a Urethane Methacrylate/Unsaturated Polyester Resin System for Composite Materials Sustainability, 11 (4), 1001. pp. 1-15.

sustainability-11-01001.pdf - Accepted version Manuscript

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Bio-derived fibres and resins are of increasing interest as alternatives to petrochemicals in the production of so-called environmentally friendly composite materials. However, whilst the majority of systems consider complete replacement, another route is to look at the constituents that are required to give certain properties, including the content of diluents; a third is to identify ‘hot spots’ in manufacturing. This paper considers these three possibilities in the context of the production of a resin system, and presents results from a life cycle assessment. The aim of this study was to make qualitative assertions based on quantitative estimates. The current work provides a practical assessment of the contribution of the manufacturing process of a multi-part resin formulation to a range of environmental impacts. As a part of this, a multi-stage methodology, the first of its kind, which is more relevant for the batch processes used to manufacture many structural thermosetting polymer systems, was developed. This was applied to a range of resins, some of which include bio-mass derived precursors. For the boundary conditions used, the indications are that the impacts due to taking the constituents and processing them to produce the resin system are insignificant compared with those due to producing the feedstocks in the first place. Surprisingly, whether the feedstocks were from fossil resources or were bioderived was of little significance. As a consequence of the analysis, it has been demonstrated that whilst a manufacturer can make significant savings through careful management of plant and the supporting energy mix, significant improvements to the environmental impacts of resin systems can be made through the choice of particular monomers.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering Sciences
Authors :
Chard, Jonathon M
Basson, Lauren
Creech, Gavin
Date : 15 February 2019
Funders : EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Composites; Diluent; Formulation; Life cycle assessment; Resins; Styrene
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 27 Feb 2019 15:54
Last Modified : 27 Feb 2019 15:54

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