Soy-Capped Polycarbonate Dendrimers for Tough, Sustainable Water Based Wood Coatings

EPA Contract Number: EPD13020
Title: Soy-Capped Polycarbonate Dendrimers for Tough, Sustainable Water Based Wood Coatings
Investigators: Cameron, Randy E.
Small Business: Instrumental Polymer Technologies, LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 13, 2013 through November 14, 2013
Project Amount: $80,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Innovation in Manufacturing


The environmental impact of wood coatings has become a pressing issue as the manufacturing of wooden products, such as flooring, cabinetry, furniture and doors, is moving back to the United States amidst rising labor costs overseas. For the last 30 years, the bulk of these products have been painted in countries with lax environmental regulations, allowing the use of inexpensive but environmentally hazardous oil-based alkyd coatings.

Wood furniture manufacturers in the United States have focused on using polyurethane coatings with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In fact, this niche portion of the wood furniture coatings market is the largest use for polyurethane coatings. But it is too expensive to be used for the majority of wood furniture manufacturing. It is also based on toxic and unsustainable chemistry. Ideal would be a low cost and sustainable, oil-based polymer system which was water based and had no VOCs, and which offered the wear and stain resistance of polyurethane coatings. It would help our manufacturers compete for the bulk wood products business while also tempting them to replace environmentally toxic polyurethane with a green coatings technology.
Ironically, an ideal source for such a low-cost oil-based polymer is nanotechnology. Our company has developed a unique evolution polymerization process to produce high molecular weight dendrimers at low cost and with sustainable raw materials. Dendrimers are spherical polymers, which branch out from their center, resulting in a specific core and surface, like a cell. In this project, we will produce high molecular weight dendrimers with a tough and chemically resistant polycarbonate core. Soy methyl ester, otherwise known as common biodiesel, will be attached to dendrimer’s surface to yield a fast drying, low cost, alkyd. Amino acids will be bound in the core to contribute water solubility. Upon cure, the amino acids will be tucked away in the core of dendrimer so the resulting film is hydrophobic and stain resistant. Methanol produced as the only distillate byproduct will be reused by a biodiesel producer for further production of biodiesel.

Supplemental Keywords:

VOC, polymers, dendrimers, green chemistry, biodiesel

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Soy-Capped Polycarbonate Dendrimers for Tough, Sustainable Water-Based Wood Coatings