Research Activities: 2010


Soy-Based UV Resistant Polyurethane Pultruded Composites: Phase II



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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

United Soybean Board

Principal Investigator

K. Chandrashekhara, Curator's Professor
231 Toomey Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla MO 65409
p 573-341-4587
f 573-341-6899

Student Involvement

One student

Project Objective

Development and performance evaluation of soy-based polyurethane pultruded composites


Project Abstract

Development of affordable soy-based aromatic and aliphatic PU composites with improved mechanical and environmental performance is the focus of the proposed study. In our previous study, we have successfully manufactured both aromatic and aliphatic PU composites with 20% soy content. Neat resin samples of base PU and soy-PU were manufactured to evaluate the performance of the resin system. As the polyol and the isocyanate components of the PU resin system are susceptible to moisture, a novel mixing process was developed to make void free neat resin samples. A new metering unit system and an injection box were integrated with the pultrusion machine to manufacture PU composites. The mechanical performance of the neat resin samples and pultruded composites was evaluated. The performance of the soy-based resin is comparable to the base PU resin. However, aromatic PU based composites have poor environmental stability under UV light exposure and require specialized painting to provide protection. Aliphatic PU resins provide improved UV resistance but exhibit lower mechanical performance in comparison to aromatic polyurethanes. We have conducted preliminary studies on feasibility of incorporating nano-engineered fillers in the aliphatic PU resin system to compensate for the reduction in mechanical properties. In the proposed research, the current on-going work will be expanded to manufacture aromatic and aliphatic PU composites with increased soy content. Also, the initial study conducted for incorporating nano-engineered fillers in the aliphatic PU resin system will be used to manufacture PU nanocomposites. Fillers such as titanium dioxide will be mixed with the resin to obtain desired color for the finished part. The cure kinetics of the PU systems will be studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and the reaction rates of the aliphatic and aromatic polyurethanes will be compared. Mechanical and environmental performance will be evaluated by conducting tensile, flexure, impact, salt fog and UV exposure tests. The economics of aromatic and aliphatic systems will be assessed.


Project Deliverables

•PU resin formulation with higher soy content and development of nano PU resin system

• Manufacturing and performance evaluation of pultruded composites


Anticipated Benefits

Use of soy-based materials offer low cost raw materials and environmentally sustainable benefits


Project Number



Project Start Date:
Project End Date: 12/31/2011

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Previous studies were on hydrogen storage cylinders and biocomposites


Technology Transfer Activities

We are collaborating with Bayer MaterialScience for development of Soy-based PU resin for Pultrusion process. These bio-based composites can be used in infrastructure applications


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Pultrusion Process, Soy-based Resin System, Composite Manufacturing