Waterborne NIPU Epoxy Hybrid Coating

EPA Grant Number: SU840158
Title: Waterborne NIPU Epoxy Hybrid Coating
Investigators: Zhou, Qixin
Institution: University of Akron
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: December 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021
Project Amount: $25,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2020) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Chemical Safety


Polyurethane coatings—which are high-performance coatings widely used for automotive, aerospace, and corrosion protection applications—are produced using hazardous and toxic isocyanates as the primary building blocks. Isocyanates and isocyanate derivatives have generated serious concerns due to their environmental, health, and safety-related issues. Although research on non-isocyanate polyurethane (NIPU) has received extensive development in recent years, NIPU synthesis is still faced with a major problem—low reactivity. In addition, the development and research on waterborne NIPU is still in its infancy. The innovation of this project is intended to fill the gap. The project aims to combine the features of NIPU approach and waterborne coating to develop a waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coating from a bio-based resource. The new approach will not involve the use or production of isocyanates; also, it will reduce voltaic organic compounds (VOCs) by using water as a solvent. The objectives of the project are to (1) prepare a waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coating; (2) study the structure-property relationships of the waterborne NIPU; and (3) investigate the performance of the newly developed waterborne NIPU coating.


A waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coating can be synthesized from renewable cyclic carbonate, fatty acid diamine, amine-based internal dispersion monomer, and epoxy chain extender. The reaction will be monitored by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and 13C NMR. The effect of the soft/hard segment on waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coatings will be studied by differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, and tensile tests. The performance of waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coating will be evaluated in terms of corrosion resistance, adhesion, thermal and mechanical properties.

Expected Results:

The outcome of this project is a green approach to produce waterborne NIPU epoxy hybrid coating. The tunable thermal and mechanical properties can be achieved by adjusting the fatty acid content and the ratio of soft to hard segments. The green and sustainable approach to produce polyurethane coating protects the environment, benefits the health of people in surrounding communities, and creates economic benefits.

Supplemental Keywords:

green chemistry, environmentally benign substitute, non-isocyanates, polyurethane coating, waterborne coating, bio-based coating, low VOCs