Innovative Training Network (ITN)
We are, in collaboration with seven other research institutes and four industrial partners, developing new ecologically and economically efficient processes for the production of polymer latexes as a part of the European research network “Photoemulsion: towards Next-generation Eco-efficient PHOTO And EMULSION Polymerisations Imparting Synergy to Process, Products and Applications”.
The polymer industry, driven by new environmental regulations, needs to develop new eco-efficient processes and novel zero-VOC products. To push forward new eco-friendly polymerization processes, two existing technologies have been combined: Polymerisation in dispersed media and Photopolymerisation. Polymerization in dispersed media - mostly emulsion and suspension - generally uses water as reaction medium, and already accounts for 20% of the world polymer production. Photopolymerisation is the second-largest zero-VOC polymerization process, applied today as a film curing technology in many industrial sectors, it features 100% solids formulation, high productivity, and energy-saving polymerization process. The objective of “Photoemulsion” is to use thiol-ene photopolymerization in dispersed media to produce a variety of functional polysulfide latexes. Photoemulsion is a new hybrid process which paves the way to a novel range of polymer latexes and the unique properties of the polysulfide open the door to applications responding to current economic, ecological and social concerns such as non-leaching materials, biobased coatings, high barrier packaging films, and bio-compatible drug delivery devices.