DESign of bio-based Thermoset polymer with rEcycLing capabiLity by dynAmic bonds for bio-composite manufacturing
ESTELLA is an ambitious initiative that proposes an innovative solution to improve the recyclability of low-recyclable materials: thermosetting composites. To this end, ESTELLA will work on the design of novel bio-based epoxy resins with inherent recyclability capabilities thanks to the introduction of Covalent Adaptive Network (CAN) in the original epoxy structure. CAN will provide the thermosetting epoxy resin with the ability to respond to certain stimulus that changes the state of its microstructure and thus, the ability to be reprocessed/re-polymerized (return to original monomers and fibres). A similar strategy will be applied to existing fossil-based epoxy formulations. In this way, the thermoset can be reprocessed or re-polymerized into new products and the fibres can be recovered as well. In addition, fibres of renewable origin will be used as reinforcement to manufacturing thermoset composites. ESTELLA research will address recycling techniques of any nature (chemical, biological and mechanical) to guarantee that the materials developed during the project can be successfully separated into their components in a safe and cost-effective way, hence maximizing the revenue of recycling activities. The validation of the developed recyclable materials will be carried out through economically and environmentally efficient manufacture processes (out-of-autoclave). Thus, new bio-composites will be designed and developed based on the premises of improving recyclability while meeting the demands of different sectors such as construction and leisure/mobility. Also, extensive work will be carried out to leverage the industrial application of the technologies and materials developed, taking into account safety, techno-economic, regulatory and intellectual property aspects.