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Polyurethanes are among the most versatile polymers because of the wide range of monomers, particularly diols or polyols, that can be utilized in their synthesis. This Review focuses on the most recent advances made in the production of polyurethane materials from vegetable oils. Over the past several years, increasing attention has been given to the use of vegetable oils as feedstocks for polymeric materials, because they tend to be very inexpensive and available in large quantities. Using various procedures, a very broad range of polyols or diols and in some cases, poly- or diisocyanates, can be obtained from vegetable oils. The wide range of vegetable oil-based monomers leads to a wide variety of polyurethane materials, from flexible foams to ductile and rigid plastics. The thermal and mechanical properties of these vegetable oil-based polyurethanes are often comparable to or even better than those prepared from petroleum and are suitable for applications in various industries.
Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 (USA), Fax: (+1) 51-52-94-01-05.
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