Effect of unrefined crude glycerol composition on the properties of polyurethane foams


The aim of this study is to evaluate the possibility of using unrefined crude glycerol (CG), a byproduct of the biodiesel industry, in the production of polyurethane foams. In order to assess the suitability of this raw material for the production of polyurethane foams, two samples of crude glycerol with different compositions in glycerol, fatty acids, and methyl esters were used directly, without any pretreatment or purification. Additionally, one of these samples was also submitted to a pre-treatment step in order to evaluate the advantage of purifying the raw material and, for comparison, pure glycerol was also used to prepare polyurethane foams. Both chemical and structural characterizations of the produced foams, as well as the thermomechanical properties determined, showed that unrefined crude glycerol is a suitable ecopolyol for the production of polyurethane foams. Although the presence of fatty acids and esters affects their mechanical performance, this issue can be explored to tune the properties of the ensuing polyurethane foams. Furthermore, the evaluation of the impact of using unrefined CG on the sustainability of polyurethane foams production yielded promising results.



subject category

Chemistry; Polymer Science


Gama, NV; Soares, B; Freire, CSR; Silva, R; Ferreira, A; Barros-Timmons, A

our authors


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2013), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate cofinanced by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. Thermal Analysis Laboratory was funded by FEDER Funds through Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade-COMPETE and by National Funds through FCT under the project REEQ/515/CTM/2005. Carmen Freire also acknowledges FCT/MEC for a contract under the program Investigador FCT 2012 (IF/01407/2012). The authors would also like to acknowledge Bioportdiesel and Dow Chemical for kindly supplying crude glycerol and isocyanate, respectively.

Share this project:

Related Publications

We use cookies for marketing activities and to offer you a better experience. By clicking “Accept Cookies” you agree with our cookie policy. Read about how we use cookies by clicking "Privacy and Cookie Policy".