Soybean Oil-Based Thermoset Films and Fibers with High Biobased Carbon Content via Thiol-Ene Photopolymerization

Sung Soo Kim, Heonjoo Ha, Christopher J. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


While a number of vegetable oil derivatives have been integrated with petroleum-based materials to prepare thermosetting polymers, existing examples usually incorporate low total biorenewable content into the final product. With the goal of generating thermosets with high biorenewable content, two different soybean oil derivatives with multifunctional thiol and acrylate groups were photocured via thiol-acrylate photopolymerization. For this purpose, l-cysteine, a nonhazardous amino acid, was coupled with epoxidized soybean oil to synthesize a mercaptanized soybean oil derivative containing multiple thiol groups. After being mixed with acrylate counterparts suitable for performing thiol-ene photopolymerizations, these monomer mixtures were processed into thermoset films (via monomer mixture film casting followed by photopolymerization) and fibers (via simultaneous electrospinning of the monomer mixture and photopolymerization in flight). The resulting materials possessed high biobased carbon content (BCC; over 90%) and higher elasticity than cross-linked acrylated epoxidized soybean oil without the thiol-containing component. This can be attributed to a change in the cross-link density that is controlled by different photopolymerization mechanisms (e.g., step-growth polymerization vs chain-growth homopolymerization). We anticipate that the approaches outlined in this study could be generalized to other bioderived triglyceride oils for increasing the BCC and imparting biodegradability in a number of materials applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8364-8373
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. CBET-1609694). S.-S. Kim acknowledges Walter W. Young for providing valuable comments and suggestions related to this manuscript. S.-S. Kim also thanks Hanim Kim for assisting in FE-SEM imaging.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • Biobased carbon content
  • Cysteine
  • Electrospinning
  • Soybean oil
  • Thermoset
  • Thiolaene photochemistry


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