Epichlorohydrin is mainly converted to bisphenol A diglycidyl ether, used as a constituent in the manufacture of epoxy resins. It is also a precursor to monomers for other resins and polymers.
Another use involves conversion to synthetic glycerol. However, the rapid increase in biodiesel production, in which glycerol is a waste product, has led to an excess of this product on the market, making this process uneconomic.
There are three types of epichlorohydrin: homopolymers (CO), copolymers (ECO) and terpolymers (ETER).
Homopolymers result in mixtures that are not easy to process in terms of finding a good balance between green strength and tackiness of cylinders. However, they produce vulcanizates with excellent oil resistance at up to 135°C, with good fuel resistance, good heat resistance (135/150°C), quite good resistance to low temperatures (-18/-20°C), excellent ozone resistance and very low gas permeability.
The copolymers exhibit properties and performance similar to those of homopolymers but weakened. They differ from them in that:
In contrast to the previous two, terpolymers have double bonds outside the main chain of the polymer: thus they are can cross-link with sulfur, retaining stability at oxidation of the epoxy epichlorohydrin chain. However, if cross-linked with sulfur, these terpolymers cannot be used with other polyepichlorohydrins, as the presence of carbon-sulfur bonds would lower heat resistance.
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