Preparation of Polyols and Polyurethane Foams from Olein By-Product of Tanning Industry

Main Article Content

Manoel Rodrigues da Silva
João Antonio Pessoa da Silva
Cesar Liberato Petzhold
Nilo Sérgio Medeiros Cardozo
Mariliz Gutterres


Olein produced from the solid residues of the tanning industry is already employed as raw material to obtain greasing oil for leather. However, new applications for this product may be advantageous regarding environmental impact and sustainability of this industry. In this work, flexible polyurethane foams (FPUFs) were prepared from polyols obtained from olein. A polyol from olein was prepared through alkaline glycerolysis. The glycerolysis conditions of temperature, glycerol/olein molar ratio, amount of catalyst and reaction time were optimized using a 24 factorial design, resulting in an olein polyol containing around 75% of monoacylglycerols, hydroxyl value (388.68±0.40 mg KOH.g-1), and hydroxyl functionality of 2.89. FPUFs were prepared at NCO/OH ratios of 1.2:1 and 1.3:1, using an aliphatic hexamethylene diisocyanate trimer and water as foaming agent. The foams were characterized through FTIR, thermogravimetry, morphology, extractable materials, and mechanical properties. Characteristics urethane/urea groups formation were verified by FTIR as well as typical mass loss steps in the thermal decomposition curves. The foams morphology showed a structure composed mainly for polygon-type closed-cells. The obtained FPUFs presented a content of extractable materials lower than 3%. The mechanical properties of the foams were dependent on the NCO/OH ratio, and the foam prepared at the ratio of 1.2:1 stood out as a potential material to be used in the production of mattresses. This study demonstrated the feasibility of transforming olein, a solid residue of the tanning industry, as a precursor to prepare PU foams, which may be a promising material for mattress applications, considering the observed features.

Article Details