BoostLab1-3: Bio4Clean - Functional diols and diamines as building blocks of new sustainable functional polymers for use in detergents and cleaning agents


Project duration

January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024

Project partners

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

RWTH Aachen, ITMC (Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry)

Project description

The project objective of Bio4Clean is the production of sustainable functional polymers for use in detergents and cleaning agents. Polymers are made up of individual monomers. The predominant raw material resource for these monomers is currently established fossil base materials, which are neither sustainable nor forward-looking. In this project, the potential of renewable raw materials and/or plastic recycling streams as sustainable resources for monomers and the functional polymers obtained from them will be investigated.

Diols and diamines represent extremely interesting monomer classes for the synthesis of sustainable polymers. However, for such a polymer to be used as a performance additive for detergent formulations, it must carry an additional chemical functionality. The functionality interacts with the textile fiber in the washing process, allowing various effects to be achieved. These include performance dimensions such as easier washing out of stains or prevention of discoloration or graying. However, it is problematic that such washing-active functionalities, can also react during a polymerization reaction, whereby the functionality is no longer present.

A synthetic challenge of the project is therefore to develop diols and diamines with a universal coupling group that is retained during polymerization. In this way, a universally functionalizable precursor polymer will be developed. In a subsequent reaction, the coupling group can then be used to introduce specific detergent groups to the polymer using established chemistry. This synthesis approach offers a universal use of the precursor polymer as a central starting compound for the individual introduction of different functionalities by means of side groups or side chains. Access to tailor-made functional polymers for detergents and cleaning agents is provided.

Open positions

currently none