DOI: 10.1002/macp.202300233 ISSN:

Evaluation of Animal Fats And Vegetable Oils as Comonomers in Polymer Composite Synthesis: Effects of Plant/Animal Sources And Comonomer Composition on Composite Properties

Claudia V. Lopez, Ashlyn D. Smith, Rhett C. Smith
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Rancid animal fats unsuitable for human or animal food production represent low‐value and abundant, yet underexploited organic chemical precursors. The current work describes a strategy to synthesize high sulfur‐content materials (HSMs) that directly utilizes a blend of partially hydrolyzed chicken fat and plant oils as the organic comonomers, following up on analogous reactions using brown grease in place of chicken fat. The reaction of sulfur and chicken fat with either canola or sunflower oil yielded crosslinked polymer composites with 85–90% wt. % of sulfur. The composites exhibited compressive strengths of 24.7–31.7 MPa, and flexural strengths of 4.1–5.7 MPa, exceeding the value of established construction materials like ordinary Portland cement (compressive strength ≥17 MPa required for residential building, flexural strength 2–5 MPa). The composites also exhibited thermal stability up to 215–224°C. The simple single‐step protocol described herein represents a way to upcycle an affordable and previously unexploited animal fat resource to form structural composites via the atom economical inverse vulcanization mechanism.

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