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Pre­curs­or: PHAt

New raw mater­i­als for the lub­ric­ants industry

The aim of the pre­de­cessor pro­ject PHAt” was to research new biobased and bio­de­grad­able raw mater­i­als for use in lub­ric­ants and bon­ded coat­ings. The focus was on the devel­op­ment of envir­on­ment­ally friendly thicken­ers. While cur­rently used thicken­ers are often based on met­al soaps with low envir­on­ment­al impact or con­tain flu­or­ine, the pro­ject took a com­pletely new approach. The con­sor­ti­um invest­ig­ated wheth­er the biobased and sim­ul­tan­eously bio­de­grad­able poly­mers poly­hy­droxyalkanoates (PHA for short) in mod­i­fied form are suit­able as thicken­ers. The PHAs were formed by fer­ment­a­tion, isol­ated from bac­teria and then chem­ic­ally mod­i­fied to obtain optim­um flow prop­er­ties in the lub­ric­ant. At the same time, the lub­ric­ant should remain tem­per­at­ure and oxy­gen stable without com­prom­ising the bio­de­grad­ab­il­ity of the thickener.

After many optim­iz­a­tion steps of PHA pro­duc­tion, the pro­ject part­ners have reached the threshold of semi-indus­tri­al scale. In a sub­sequent step, the PHAs were chem­ic­ally mod­i­fied to vary and optim­ize their prop­er­ties. In sev­er­al applic­a­tion tests, the pro­ject part­ners now proved that the mod­i­fied PHAs show good thick­en­ing and cross­link­ing effects. The res­ult­ing improved and at the same time envir­on­ment­ally friendly thicken­ers for the lub­ric­ant industry are now being invest­ig­ated and fur­ther optim­ized in the fol­low-up pro­ject PHAtiCuS.