Polyurethanes based on high molecular weight formyl alcohols


The present invention describes the production of high molecular weight polyhydric alcohols and their derivatives. In particular the urethane reaction products of polyisocyanates and polyhydric alcohols are described. The particular urethane products of the present invention are obtained using an alcohol having a terminal hydroxyl functionality and a geminal hydroxymethyl structure. The particular urethan products of the present invention are obtained using an alcohol having a terminal hydroxyl functionality and a geminal hydroxymethyl structure.


What is claimed is: 1. The urethane linked reaction product of a gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol of the formula: CH.sub.3 (CH.sub.2).sub.m [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.n (CH.sub.2).sub.p [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.q (CH.sub.2).sub.r [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.s (CH.sub.2).sub.t CH.sub.2 OH and from about 80% to about 120% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent basis of a polyisocyanate wherein n, q and s are integers the sum of which is from 1 to 3, and m through t are integers the sum of which is from 12 to 20. 2. The composition of claim 1 wherein the sum of the polyisocyanate functionality and the hydroxyl functionality is 4 or greater. 3. The composition of claim 1 wherein the polyisocyanate is present at from about 95% to about 105% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent basis. 4. The composition of claim 1 wherein the polyisocyanate is selected from the group consisting of diisocyanates and triisocyanates and mixtures thereof. 5. The composition of claim 1 wherein the polyisocyanate is an aromatic isocyanate. 6. The composition of claim 1 wherein the polyisocyanate is an aliphatic or cycloaliphatic isocyanate. 7. The composition of claim 1 wherein the polyisocyanate is selected from the group consisting of: (a) toluene diisocyanate; (b) xylene diisocyanate; (c) isophorone diisocyanate; (d) hexamethylene diisocyanate; (e) the triisocyanate adduct of hexamethylene diisocyanate and water; (f) trimethyl hexamethylene diisocyanate, hydrogenated also; (g) diphenylmethane diisocyanate; and (h) aliphatic diisocyanates having from 12 to 40 carbon atoms in the aliphatic moiety. 8. The composition of claim 1 wherein the alcohol is a 9,9(10,10) bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol. 9. The composition of claim 8 wherein the alcohol is 9,9 bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol. 10. The composition of claim 8 wherein the polyol is 10,10 bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol. 11. The composition of claim 1 wherein the alcohol is a 9,9(10,10); 12,12(13,13) di-[bis(hydroxymethyl)]octadecanol. 12. The composition of claim 1 wherein the alcohol is a 9,9(10,10); 12,12(13,13); 15,15(16,16) tri-[bis(hydroxymethyl)]octadecanol. 13. The composition of claim 1 additionally comprising a diol of the formula: H(CH.sub.2).sub.h CH(CH.sub.2 OH)(CH.sub.2).sub.k CH.sub.2 OH and from about 80% to about 120% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent basis of additional polyisocyanate wherein the sum of h+k is from 12 to 20. 14. The composition of claim 13 wherein the diol is 9 hydroxymethyl octadecanol. 15. The composition of claim 13 wherein the diol is 10 hydroxymethyl octadecanol. 16. The composition of claim 11 wherein the weight ratio of the geminal alcohol to the diol is from about 1:2 to about 100:1. 17. The composition of claim 13 wherein the alcohol is a 9,9(10,10); 12,12(13,13) di-[bis(hydroxymethyl)]octadecanol. 18. The composition of claim 13 wherein the alcohol is a 9,9(10,10); 12,12(13,13); 15,15(16,16) tri-[bis(hydroxymethyl)] octadecanol. 19. The composition of claim 1 wherein n, p, r and s are 0; q is 1 and m plus t is from 11 through 19.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to products and processes useful in the manufacture of synthetic resins. 2. Description of the Art Practices Hydroformylation is basically defined as the addition of a formyl group through the reaction of an unsaturated compound with carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The basic technology for the manufacture of hydroformylated products and consequently their derivatives is amply set out hereinafter. Among the difficulties which must be met in the manufacture of hydroformylated products is the consideration that hydrogen gas, an explosive, and carbon monoxide, a hazardous material, are utilized in the process. Hydroformylation processes are also dependent on expensive metallic catalysts such as carbonyls which have high toxicity and high cost. The conditions for running a hydroformylation reaction also involve the use of substantial temperature and pressure thus necessitating costly equipment which must be maintained. Thus due to the various factors and considerations which go into the manufacture of hydroformylated products and their derivatives it is essential that the reactions individually and cummulatively give high purity of the desired end product and high yield thereby avoiding excessive handling of hazardous materials while minimizing the high capital cost and maintenance of such production facilities. In the past several attempts have been made to prepare hydroformylated products or similar materials such as is described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,437,600 to Gresham et al issued Mar. 9, 1948. The Gresham patent relates to the synthesis of organic oxygen containing compounds, in particular aldehydes. U.S. Pat. No. 2,533,276 to McKeever et al issued Dec. 12, 1950 describes ester-acetals obtained with cobalt catalysts. U.S. Pat. No. 2,599,468 to McKeever issued June 3, 1952 describes the process of preparing nonadecyl glycols. U.S. Pat. No. 3,040,090 issued June 19, 1962 to Alderson et al discusses the reaction of hydrocarbons with aldehydes and higher alcohols in methanol to prepare organic oxy compounds. The Alderson et al patent sets forth a number of metallic catalysts which may be employed in effecting the reactions described therein. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,043,871 issued July 10, 1962 to Buchner et al the production of heptadecane-dicarboxylic acid is described. Foreman et al in U.S. Pat. No. 3,227,640 issued Jan. 4, 1966 describes the production of olefinically unsaturated alcohols which are of use in manufacturing some of the end products of the present invention. U.S. Pat. No. 3,420,898 issued to Van Winkle et al on Jan. 7, 1969 discusses the use of cobalt complexes with certain phosphine compounds in the production of primary alcohols with carbon monoxide and hydrogen. U.S. Pat. No. 3,530,190 issued Sept. 22, 1970 to Olivier discusses hydrocarbonylation of olefins using certain metal salts. The foregoing reference also discusses the recovery of the complexed metal catalyst. In a patent to Ramsden issued Jan. 16, 1973 as U.S. Pat. No. 3,711,560, the production of polyolefins and other oxygenated organic compounds which are polyunsaturated is discussed. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,787,459 issued Jan. 22, 1974 to Frankel a process is described for converting unsaturated vegetable oil into formyl products which are subsequently reduced to the corresponding hydroxymethyl derivative or oxidized to the corresponding carboxy products. U.S. Pat. No. 3,899,442 issued Aug. 12, 1975 to Friedrich discusses a complementary system to that of the Frankel patent whereby rhodium catalysts are recovered from the spent hydroformylation reactants. Frankel, again in U.S. Pat. No. 3,928,231, issued Dec. 23, 1975 discusses a process of preparing carboxy acid products in high yields while minimizing isomerization of the starting unsaturated vegetable oil. Miller et al in U.S. Pat. No. 4,093,637 issued June 6, 1978 discusses the use of formyl stearic acid to prepare bis acyloxymethylstearic acid which is stated to be useful as a plasticizer. U.S. Pat. No. 3,931,332 issued Jan. 6, 1976 to Wilkes discusses hydroformylation reactions in which the destructive disassociation of the catalyst is inhibited by the presence of organic nitrogen compounds. Reichspatentamt Patentschrift No. 745,265 to Mannes et al published Mar. 1, 1944 discusses the preparation of dicarboxylic acids and their salts. In Bundesrepublik Deutschland Pat. No. 965 697 issued June 13, 1957 to Blaser and Stein the reaction of unsaturated alcohols and their derivatives with metal carbonyls and carbon monoxide is discussed. A by-product which is obtained through the technology of Blaser et al includes substantial amounts of monoformylated product. Similarly a formylation technique which results in a monoformylated product when using unsaturated alcohols is discussed in an article by Ucciani et al in the Bull. Soc. Chim. (France) 1969 p. 2826-2830. Similarly Bundesrepublik Pat. No. 1,054,444 published Apr. 9, 1959 to Waldmann and Stein discusses the treatment of unsaturated fatty substances with formaldehyde in the presence of a carboxylic anhydride and an acidic catalyst to provide formyl products. Substantial work has been done on the production of various hydroformylated products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at both the Eastern and Western Regional Research Laboratories. For example, in an article by Roe entitled "Branched Carboxylic Acids from Long-Chain Unsaturated Compounds and Carbon Monoxide at Atmospheric Pressure" published at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 37, p. 661-668 (1960). The production by direct carboxylation at atmospheric pressure of unsaturated acids with carbon monoxide or formic acid is discussed. The hydroformylation of unsaturated fatty esters is discussed by Frankel et al at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 46, p. 133-138 (1968). Frankel has also reported a selective catalyst system for the hydroformylation of methyl oleate utilizing rhodium catalyst in the presence of triphenylphosphine in an article entitled "Methyl 9(10)-Formylstearate by Selective Hydroformylation of Oleic Oils" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 48, p. 248-253 (1971). In a paper presented at the American Oil Chemists' Society meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1971, Dufek et al discusses the esterification and transesterification of dicarboxylic acids under the title "Esterification and Transesterification of 9(10)-Carboxystearic Acid and Its Methyl Esters". The foregoing article was published at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 49 (5) p. 302-306 (1972). Frankel, again, discusses the use of specific catalysts to obtain hydroformylated products in an article titled "Selective Hydroformylation of Polyunsaturated Fats With a Rhodium-Triphenylphosphine Catalyst", J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 49, p. 10-14 (1972). Friedrich at Vol. 17, No. 3 of Ind. Eng. Chem. Prod. Res. Dev. (1978) presents an article entitled "Low-Pressure Hydroformylation of Methyl-Oleate With an Activated Rhodium Catalyst". Pryde, working with Frankel and Cowan discuss hydroformylation via the oxo reaction, Koch carboxylation and Reppe carbonylation in an article entitled "Reactions of Carbon Monoxide with Unsaturated Fatty Acids and Derivatives: A Review", reported at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 49, p. 451-456 (1972). Friedrich discusses the hydroformylation of unsaturated esters combined with catalyst recovery in an article entitled "Hydroformylation of Methyl Oleate with a Recycled Rhodium Catalyst and Estimated Costs for a Batch Process" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 50, p. 455-458 (1973). A similar area of technology is also reported by Frankel et al in an article entitled "Hydroformylation of Methyl Linoleate and Linolenate with Rhodium-Triphenylphosphine Catalyst" from I&EC Product Research & Development, Vol. 12, p. 47-53 (1973). Certain condensation polymers prepared from pentaerythritol acetal derivatives are reported in an article "Poly(Amide-Acetals) and Poly(Ester-Acetals) from Polyol Acetals of Methyl (9(10)-Formylstearate: Preparation and Physical Characterization" reported at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 53, p. 20-26 (1976). Compounds obtained through hydroformylation technology useful as plasticizers are discussed in a Frankel et al article entitled "Acyl Esters from Oxo-Derived Hydroxymethylstearates as Plasticizers for Polyvinyl Chloride" printed in the J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 52, p. 498-504 (1975). Friedrich in an article entitled "Oxidation of Methyl Formylstearate with Molecular Oxygen" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 53, p. 125-129 (1976) reports the use of air or oxygen to form methyl carboxystearate from methyl formylstearate in an emulsion with a soluble rhodium complex. The reuse of catalyst in hydroformylation reactions is described by Awl in an article entitled "Hydroformylation with Recycled Rhodium Catalyst and One-Step Esterification-Acetalation: A Process for Methyl 9(10)-Methoxymethylenestearate from Oleic Acid" which is printed in J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 53, p. 190-195 (1976). Useful diols for resin purposes are described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,933,477 issued Apr. 19, 1960 to Hostettler. Nonadecanediols are described as being utilized in urethane formulations in U.S. Pat. No. 3,243,414 to DeWitt et al issued Mar. 29, 1966. The production of triols which are not particularly useful in resins due to the close positioning of the hydroxyl groups is reported in Improved Synthesis of 1,1,1-trimethylolalkanes from Hexanal and Nonanal J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 45, p. 517 (July 1968) by Moore and Pryde. Frankel et al in a paper entitled Catalytic Hydroformylation and Hydrocarboxylation of Unsaturated Fatty Compounds at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 54, p. 873A (1977) also describes formylation technology. Frankel also describes the use of carbonyl metallic compounds in hydroformylations in an article entitled "Catalytic Hydroformylation of Unsaturated Fatty Derivatives with Cobalt Carbonyl" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 53, p. 138-141 (1976). The use of esters of various carboxystearic acids is discussed by Dufek et al in an article entitled "Some Esters of Mono-, Di-, and Tricarboxystearic Acid as Plasticizers: Preparation and Evaluation" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 53, p. 198-203 (1976). Dufek et al also report catalyst recovery in an article entitled "Recovery of Solubilized Rhodium from Hydroformylated Vegetable Oils and Their Methyl Esters" in J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 54, p. 276-278. Frankel discusses hydroformylation generally in an article entitled Selective Hydroformylation of Unsaturated Fatty Acid Esters at Annals N.Y. Academy of Sciences 214:79 (1973). Catalyst technology is reviewed at Recent Developments in Hydroformylation Catalysis in Catal. Rev. 6 (1) page 49 et seq. (1972). Dufek alone at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 55, p. 337-339 (1978) reports on the conversion of methyl 9(10) formylstearate in an article entitled "Conversion of Methyl 9(10)-Formylstearate to Carboxymethylstearate". Acetal esters obtainable through hydroformylation technology are reported by Adlof et al in an article entitled "Preparation and Selective Hydrolysis of Acetal Esters" at J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 54, p. 414-416 (1977). Selective catalyst systems are again reported by Frankel in the J. Am. Oil Chemists' Soc. 54, p. 873a-881a (1977) in an article entitled "Catalytic Hydroformylation and Hydrocarboxylation of Unsaturated Fatty Compounds". The plasticization of polyvinylchloride resins is also reported in patent applications and coded P.C. 6333 and 6375 bearing respectively the titles "Acetoxymethyl Derivatives of Polyunsaturated Fatty Triglycerides as Primary Plasticizers for Polyvinylchloride", and "Alkyl 9,9(10,10)-Bis(acyloxymethyl) octadecanoates as Primary Plasticizers for Polyvinylchloride". Each of the foregoing to the extent that it is applicable to the present invention is herein incorporated by reference. The basic purpose of the present invention is to describe as end products the preparation of high molecular weight polyhydric alcohols and their useful urethane reaction products formed by the condensation of the polyhydric alcohol with a polyisocyanate. Of course several other uses of the technology embodied in this patent are readily apparent. Throughout the specification and claims of the present invention percentages and ratios are by weight and temperatures are in degrees of Celsius unless otherwise indicated. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention describes a urethane linked reaction product of an alcohol of the formula: CH.sub.3 (CH.sub.2).sub.m [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.n (CH.sub.2).sub.p [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.q (CH.sub.2).sub.r [C(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 ].sub.s (CH.sub.2).sub.t CH.sub.2 OH and from about 80% to about 120% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent basis of a polyisocyanate wherein n, q and s are integers the sum of which is from 1 to 3 and m through t are integers the sum of which is from 12 to 20. A useful variation of the present invention is obtained by adding to geminal alcohol and the polyisocyanate a diol of the formula: H(CH.sub.2).sub.h CH(CH.sub.2 OH)(CH.sub.2).sub.k CH.sub.2 OH and from about 80% to about 120% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent bases of additional polyisocyanate wherein the sum of h plus k is from 12 to 20. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The products of the present invention are formed through hydroformylation which is the process for the production of aldehydes from olefinically unsaturated compounds by reaction with carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. The aldehydes produced generally correspond to the compounds obtained by the addition of a hydrogen and a formyl group to an olefinically unsaturated group in the starting material thus saturating the olefinic bond. The useful products of the present invention are prepared by hydroformylating an unsaturated alcohol of the formula H(CH.sub.2).sub.a (CH═CH).sub.b (CH.sub.2).sub.c (CH═CH).sub.d (CH.sub.2).sub.e (CH═CH).sub.f (CH.sub.2).sub.g CH.sub.2 OH where hereinafter (1) a is not equal to 0; (2) the integers b plus d plus f are equal to y which has a value of from 1 to 3; (3) the sum of the integers a plus c plus e plus g is equal to x; and (4) x plus 2y is equal to from 13 to 21; (5) m through t are integers the sum of which is from 12 through 20; (6) n plus q plus s are 1 through 3, and; (7) n, q, and s are 0 or 1, preferably such that the sum of m through t is from 14 to 18 and x plus 2y is 15 to 19. A second preferred embodiment is where n, p, r, and s are 0 and m plus t is 11 through 19. Most preferably the starting raw material is oleyl alcohol although linoleyl or linolenyl alcohol may be employed. It is of course noted that any number of synthetic unsaturated alcohols may also be employed in the present invention. However, for most purposes the naturally occurring alcohols derived from plant sources are presently most convenient and inexpensive. The unsaturated alcohol is reacted with hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide in the presence of a rhodium catalyst as later described to form the corresponding formyl alcohol having the formula CH.sub.3 (CH.sub.2).sub.m [CH(CHO)].sub.n (CH.sub.2).sub.p [CH(CHO)].sub.q (CH.sub.2).sub.r [CH(CHO)].sub.s (CH.sub.2).sub.t CH.sub.2 OH wherein the various subscript numbers are as previously described. The addition of hydrogen and a carbon monoxide is accomplished in practice by conveniently adding stoichiometric amounts of the hydrogen and carbon monoxide to give the formyl alcohol. To assure completeness of the reaction the amounts of hydrogen and carbon monoxide may be each maintained at from about 1.5:0.5 to about 0.5:1.5 molar ratio to one another. It is noted that the ratio is not critical as long as the pressure is maintained in the reaction vessel by the component gases and that the amount of hydrogen is not so great as to substantially reduce the unsaturated starting material. The rhodium catalyst as later described is necessary in the hydroformylation reaction in that it has been found that the use of the more conventional cobalt catalyst results in a substantial amount of cross-linking gelation. It is believed that the gelation is due to the coproduction of polyhemiacetals and polyacetals in competition with the production of the hydroformylated alcohol. It was at first believed by the author that it would be necessary, even with a rhodium catalyst, to employ the ester of the unsaturated alcohol e.g. oleyl acetate to avoid the unwanted by-products. Of course the ester is more expensive and eventually is converted to the alcohol in any event. Higher yields of product are obtained through the use of the rhodium catalysts than if a cobalt catalyst is employed. It has also been observed that a much higher degree of isomerization of the double bond occurs with a cobalt catalyst than with a rhodium catalyst. The conditions for pressure and temperature during the hydroformylation are conveniently conducted at from about 90 degrees C. to about 170 degrees C., preferably from about 110 degrees C. to about 130 degrees C. Above the higher temperatures listed above increased amounts of unwanted byproducts are formed in the reaction mixture. The pressure conditions are such that the pressure in the sealed system is maintained at from about 20 to about 500 atmospheres, preferably from about 30 to about 100 atmospheres absolute during the hydroformylation. The preferred end product obtained from conducting the foregoing process is 9(10) formyl octadecanol when the starting material is oleyl alcohol. The positioning of the 9(10) indicates that the product obtained is a mixture of the 9 and 10 isomer with respect to the formyl group. One additional reason for using a rhodium catalyst is that if a cobalt catalyst were employed a considerable amount of terminal aldehyde would be formed due to bond migration prior to the addition of the formyl group. When the terminal aldehyde group is formed the resultant alcohol obtained by carrying out the remainder of the herein described process is unsuitable for many of the purposes that the geminal alcohols may be utilized for. It should also be appreciated that if 9,12-linoleyl alcohol is the starting material then the formyl alcohol so formed will be a 9(10), 12(13) diformyloctadecanol. That is, the end product obtained here will actually be a mixture of the 9-12,9-13,10-12,10-13 diformyl alcohols. Similarly without discussing all the particular isomers present when 9,12,15-linolenyl alcohol is employed the product so obtained will be a mixture of the 9(10),12(13),15(16) triformyloctadecanol isomers. It is particularly important that the expensive rhodium catalyst is recovered. This may be conveniently done by distillation of the formyl alcohol leaving the rhodium in the residue. What is particularly surprising is that the rhodium can be recovered from the distillate in that the art would predict that when hydroformylating an unsaturated alcohol that the products obtained would include considerable quantities of polyhemiacetals and polyacetals as a portion or all of the reaction product and that these products would not be recoverable by distillation. Thus not only is the desired end product achieved in a high degree of purity and yield through the use of the rhodium catalyst but the rhodium catalyst is recoverable in extremely high quantities from the reaction mixture. It should also be emphasized that if the polyhemiacetals and polyketals were formed in the reaction mixture that it is very likely that the reaction components would undergo a great change in viscosity to the point of forming a semi-solid product due to the extensive cross-linking of the acetal and ketal linkages. Thus a substantial reason exists for avoiding the polyhemiacetal and polyacetal formation through the use of a rhodium catalyst. It may be stated that the polyacetal and polyhemiacetal formation might be prevented by the utilization of the corresponding unsaturated acid or its ester in place of the unsaturated alcohol. However, this substitution which eventually involves the acid ester is undesirable in that an aqueous neutralization step is required which forms a soap as a byproduct. The soap so formed then emulsifies the reaction products and the water present to make separation extremely difficult thus diminishing recovery of both the alcohol and the expensive catalyst. Thus the present invention is highly selective to both the unsaturated alcohol and the particular rhodium catalyst so employed. Any convenient source of rhodium may be employed as in the present reaction mixture the rhodium catalyst is actually converted through the presence of the hydrogen and carbon monoxide into its active form which is a rhodium carbonyl hydride. Conveniently the source of rhodium for use in the rhodium catalyst may be rhodium metal, rhodium oxide, and various other rhodium salts such as rhodium chloride, rhodium dicarbonyl chloride dimer, rhodium nitrate, rhodium trichloride and other similar materials. The rhodium catalyst in the present hydroformylation reaction is preferably present with a ligand such as a trisubstituted phosphine or trisubstituted phosphite. The term trisubstituted includes both alkyl and aryl compounds and the substituted compounds of the alkyl and aryl compounds. A particularly valuable ligand for the rhodium carbonyl hydride is triphenylphosphite or triphenylphosphine in that both compounds are particularly useful in minimizing migration of the double bond thereby avoiding a large number of isomers with respect to the formyl group including the undesired terminal formyl compound as previously discussed. In general triaryl phosphines or triarylphosphites may be used for this purpose in the formation of the rhodium carbonyl hydride ligand. In addition, the foregoing materials are extremely valuable in minimizing the undesired reaction of saturation of the double bond or the reduction formyl group. This frequently occurs in the absence of such ligands because the rhodium catalyst functions excellently as a hydrogenation catalyst. That is the ligand tends to eliminate such side reactions. In general anyone of several other additional ligands may be used with the rhodium catalyst. Such additional ligands are discussed in the Selective Hydroformylation of Unsaturated Fatty Acid Esters by Frankel in the Annals N.Y. Academy of Sciences 214:79 (1973). The various ligands are conveniently employed in mole ratio to the rhodium metal content of the catalyst of from about 2 to 50 preferably from about 3 to 20. The rhodium catalyst based upon its metal content is conveniently employed in catalytic amounts preferably from about 20 ppm to about 10,000 ppm, most preferably from about 50 ppm to about 500 ppm by weight of the unsaturated alcohol. The various formyl alcohols are useful as previously stated in preparing the highly desired gem-bis(hydroxy methyl) alcohols. The alcohols may be formed from the foregoing formyl alcohols via a Tollens' reaction (aldol condensation followed by a crossed-Cannizzaro reaction). Schematically the Tollens' reaction is as described below. RCH(CHO)R+HCHO.sup.weak base RC(CHO)(CH.sub.2 OH)--R (I) (I)+HCHO+MOH→RC(CH.sub.2 OH).sub.2 R+HCO.sub.2 M wherein the above formula R indicates an organic moiety, compound (I) is a hydroxymethyl aldehyde and MOH is a strong base. The Tollens' reaction is thus carried out by reacting one mole of a monoformylated alcohol with two moles of formaldehyde in an inert atmosphere such as nitrogen. Where the formyl alcohol contains more than one formyl group, two moles of formaldehyde are required for each formyl group present. Thus if the reactant is formyloctadecanol then two moles of formaldehyde are required for conversion to the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol whereas if linoleyl alcohol is utilized in the first instance to give a diformyloctadecanol then four moles of formaldehyde are required to obtain the di-geminaloctadecanol. Conveniently an excess of up to 1.5 preferably up to 1.2 times the amount of formaldehyde actually required to form the corresponding gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol is employed in the present invention. A convenient manner of adding the formaldehyde in the Tollens' reaction is by using a methanol solution of formaldehyde. The Tollens' reaction utilizes a strong base as both a reactant and a catalyst. Such strong bases include sodium, potassium or calcium hydroxide. Other strong bases such as carbonates or other hydroxides may be used as well. The strong base is conveniently employed on an equivalent basis per formyl group to convert the formyl group to the hydroxy methyl group. The amount of base required in the Tollens' reaction is at least an equivalent of that required preferably up to 1.5, most preferably up to 1.2 equivalents. The Tollens' reaction is conducted at a temperature of from about 0 degrees C. to about 100 degrees C., preferably from about 20 degrees C. to about 70 degrees C. The crude gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol so formed is washed with water to remove any excess caustic and salts formed and then obtained in a relatively pure state by vacuum drying. In obtaining the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol of the present invention the crossed-Cannizzaro reaction predominates over the rate of reaction for the simple Cannizzaro reaction. The Cannizzaro reaction which is promoted by base, water, and heat is the process by which an aldehyde reacts with itself to form the corresponding alcohol and formate salt. That is, in the present invention the formyl group on the formyl alcohol reacts faster with formaldehyde to give the alcohol than does the formaldehyde react with itself. It is also surprising that the formation of hemiacetal which may be acid or base catalyzed does not occur upon the addition of base to the formyl alcohol while forming the intermediate hydroxymethyl formyl alcohol. Thus two potential side reactions, the Cannizzaro and the hemiacetal formation (and thereafter the acetal) which might be expected given the reactants and the processing conditions involved do not in fact occur and the useful alcohol is obtained in substantial quantities. It has been found, however, in the present invention that the more complicated crossed-Cannizzaro surprisingly predominantes in rate and amount of product (gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol) produced despite the steric hinderance of the larger formyl alcohol molecule even under conditions which are known to promote the simple Cannizzaro reaction. An alternative method of accomplishing the formation of the geminal alcohol is to use only about one-half the equivalent amount of the formaldehyde required in the Tollens' reaction thereby forming the corresponding hydroxymethyl formyl alcohol via the aldol condensation. That is, the hydroxymethyl group is attached to the carbon in the alpha position to the formyl group. Where a polyformyl alcohol is the intermediate product the formaldehyde is halved from that utilized in the Tollens' reaction to give the corresponding polyhydroxymethyl polyformyl alcohol. This variation of forming the geminal alcohol eliminates the need for the strong base required in the Tollens' reaction and utilizes instead only catalytic amounts of base which may be either a weak or strong base. A preferred weak base is triethylamine. Even here some care must be taken as it is possible even when using a weak base to obtain compound (I) as the Cannizzaro reaction may compete with the aldol condensation. The hydroxymethyl formyl alcohol so formed by this alternative route is then reduced to the alcohol conveniently by using hydrogen gas and a suitable hydrogenation catalyst such as copper chromite, or nickel, via conventional hydrogenation practice or by lithium aluminum hydride production. A significant advantage to the alternative route is the absence of large amounts of salt and solvents needed in the Tollens' reaction route. A distinct advantage in the geminal alcohol of the present invention is that it is a liquid at room temperature and further has no tertiary hydrogens which are a weak point for chemical attack on the molecule. A mixture of the diol and the geminal alcohol is obtained by reacting the unsaturated alcohol to obtain the corresponding formyl alcohol. Thereafter the formyl alcohol is split into two streams, the first of which is processed as previously discussed to give the geminal alcohol while the second stream is reduced by hydrogenation to give the diol. The hydrogenation is generally carried out as discussed in the alternative route for preparing the geminal alcohol. The diol and the geminal alcohol are then recombined in the desired proportions which are preferably in a weight ratio of from about 2:1 to about 1:100 more preferably from about 1:1 to about 1:75. The preferred value for the sum of h and k is from 14 to 18. The liquid nature of the geminal alcohol aids in solubilizing the normally solid diol thus giving a product which is easy to compound. The products of the present invention are useful in preparing polyurethanes. Among the products which may be obtained from the alcohols are rigid foams and thermosetting elastomers. Additional uses of the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohols of the present invention include sealants, polyvinyl alcohol plasticizers, and poly(oxy)alkylene adducts such as ethylene and propylene oxide adducts for polyurethanes or detergents. The poly(oxy)alkylenes and their halogenated derivatives (especially chlorinated) are particularily useful in polyurethanes. The alcohols formed in the present invention may be reacted with an anionic species to give surfactant products such as the sulfated reaction products of the alcohol. Additional surfactants may be formed by first adducting the alcohol with a poly(oxy)alkylene such as ethylene or propylene oxide and then adding the sulfate group. The present invention also contemplates the caprolactone adducts of the alcohols. Further uses of the present invention include microcellular foams, the reaction of the alcohol with materials such as acrylic or methacrylic acids to give radiation curable coatings. The alcohols of the present invention may also be used as lubricants or oil substitutes. A further use of the present alcohol compounds are their formation into glycidyl ethers and their subsequent use as a new type of epoxy coating. A further use of the geminal alcohol is in cosmetic preparations particularly as an emollient. The primary aspect of the present invention, however, is the use of the alcohols so formed as reaction products with isocyanates to form polyurethanes. To form the urethane reaction product of the alcohol a reaction is conducted which requires the presence of an organic polyisocyanate compound. Suitable polyisocyanates include ethylene diisocyanate, trimethylene diisocyanate, hexamethylene diisocyanate, propylene-1,2-diisocyanate, ethylidene diisocyanate, cyclopentylene-1,3-diisocyanate, the 1,2-, 1,3- and 1,4-cyclohexylene diisocyanates, the 1,3- and 1,4-phenylene diisocyanates, polymethylene polyphenylene-isocyanates, the 2,4- and 2,6-toluene diisocyanates, the 1,3- and 1,4-xylylene diisocyanates, bis(4-isocyanatophenyl)methane, 4,4'-diphenyl-propane diisocyanates, bis(2-isocyanatoethyl) carbonate, 1,8-diisocyanato-p-menthane, 1-methyl-2,4-diisocyanate-cyclohexane, the chlorophenylene diisocyanates, naphthalene-1,5-diisocyanate triphenylmethane-4,4',4"-triisocyanate, isopropylbenzene-alpha-4-diisocyanate, 5,6-bicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-ene diisocyanate, 5,6-diisocyanatobutylbicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-ene and similar polyisocyanates. Of particular interest in the present invention are trimethylene hexamethyl diisocyanate available from VEBA, heptadecyl (C17) diisocyanate, DDI 1410 an aliphatic C-36 diisocyanate available from the Henkel Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Generally diisocyanates having 12 to 40 carbons in the aliphatic radical may be used in the present invention), toluene diisocyanate available from Allied Chemical, isophorone diisocyanate available from VEBA and Desmodur N an aliphatic triisocyanate available from Mobay. Desmodur N is more particularly defined the tri-isocyanate adduct of 3 moles of hexamethylene diisocyanate and water having an isocyanate equivalent weight as later defined of 191 grams. Other adducts or prepolymers of the polyisocyanate include Desmodur L and Mondur CB which are the adducts of toluene diisocyanate. The foregoing materials have an isocyanate equivalent weight of approximately 250 grams. The amount of the polyisocyanate utilized in forming the urethane compositions of the present invention is expressed on a percentage equivalent weight basis with respect to the hydroxyl functionality of the alcohol. Desirably each hydroxy functional group on the alcohol will react on a 1:1 stoichiometric basis with the isocyanate functionality on the polyisocyanate compound. It is quite feasible, however, to form the urethane linkage using from about 80% to 120% preferably from about 95% to 105% on a hydroxyl-isocyanate equivalent basis of the polyisocyanate to form the urethane product. To determine the amount of the polyisocyanate required for a given saturated polyol the hydroxyl or isocyanate equivalent weight of the respective polyol or polyisocyanate is determined as that weight in grams of the material which contains 1 gram equivalent weight of the respective functional group. More particularly to determine the number of equivalents in a given saturated polyol the hydroxyl value is first determined by known methods and reported in milligrams of potassium hydroxide. The calculation to determine the hydroxyl equivalents is then given by the following equation: OH equivalent weight=(56,100/OH value) where 56,100 is the milligram equivalent weight of potassium hydroxide. Alternatively if the weight percentage of the hydroxyl groups in the saturated polyol is known the hydroxyl equivalent is determined as follows: OH equivalent weight=(17×100/wt % OH) where 17 is the equivalent weight of the hydroxyl radical and the weight percent OH is the percentage of the saturated polyol which is hydroxyl groups. In similar fashion the isocyanate equivalent may be determined if the weight percent of the isocyanate functional groups in the polyisocyanate is known. This equation is given below where 42 is the molecular weight of an isocyanate functional group and the weight percent NCO is that portion of polyisocyanate made up of isocyanate functional groups. isocyanate equivalent weight=(42×100/wt % NCO) To form the urethane reaction product the alcohol of the present invention and the organic polyisocyanate are merely mixed together in the proper proportions. When utilized as a coating the compounds are then quickly spread with a knife blade brush or spray over the surface of the article to be coated. Where molded articles are desired various techniques such as reaction injection molding. Specific techniques for forming urethane reaction products are hereinafter described in the examples. If desired various urethane catalysts may be employed to promote the reaction. Examples of such urethane catalysts include triethylene diamine, morpholine, N-ethyl-morpholine, dimethyl piperazine, triethylamine, N,N,N',N'-tetramethylbutane-1,3-diamine, dibutyltin dilaurate, stannous octoate, stannous laurate, dioctyltin diacetate, lead octoate, stannous oleate, stannous tallate, dibutyltin oxide, and hexabutylditin as well as other art recognized urethane catalysts. Typical levels of the urethane catalyst are from about 0.001% to about 5% by weight of the urethane linking components. An additional polyol may be included with the alcohols of the present invention. Such polyols may be an alkyl or cycloalkyl polyol, an ester linked polyol, an ether linked polyol, an ether and ester linked polyol or hydroxy functional acrylic copolymers. Specific examples of alkyl and cycloalkyl polyols include 2,5-hexanediol available from Aldrich Chemical, 1,6-hexanediol, available from Celanese Chemical, ethylene glycol available from Baker, Dimerol a 36 carbon essential linear diol available from General Mills Chemicals, Inc., glycerol, 1,2,6-hexanetriol available from Union Carbide, pentaerythritol, and 1,4-cyclohexane diol. Additional examples of such polyols include Polybd R-45HT a Butadiene diol having an approximate molecular weight of 2800 available from Arco and Trimethylol propane available from Celanese. The ester linked saturated diols of the present invention are more particularily described as polyols where the predominate linkage (functional group other than the hydroxyl) are ester radicals. The ester linked saturated polyols are structurally represented as ##STR1## where R and R' are organic residues which contain at least two hydroxyl radicals and at least one ester link. Examples of ester linked saturated polyols include Niax PCP0200 and PCP0240 both available from Union Carbide and having respective molecular weights of approximately 530 and 2000. Both of the foregoing compounds are diols. Niax PCP0300 also available from Union Carbide is a Caprolactone-ester triol having approximate molecular weight of 540. Niax PCP0310 also available from Union Carbide is a Caprolactone-ester triol having a molecular weight of approximately 900. The ether linked saturated polyols of the present invention include compounds such as diethylene glycol and triethylene glycol both available from Fisher. Further ether linked saturated polyols useful in the present invention include the Polymeg Q0650, Q0100, and Q0200 all of which are ether diols available from Quaker having a respective molecular weight of approximately 650, 1000 and 2000. Pluracol P1010 having an approximate molecular weight of 1050 available from Wyandotte is an example of a polypropylene oxide ether linked diol useful in the present invention. Similar Wyandotte products useful as saturated polyols in the present invention include Pluracol TP440 and 150 which are propylene oxide ether linked triols having respective molecular weights of approximately 425 and 1560. In similar fashion Pluaracol GP3030 is another saturated polyol suitable for the present invention available from Wyandotte. The foregoing material is a glycerine polypropylene ether linked triol having an approximate molecular weight of 2900. Additional Pluracols useful in the present invention include Pluracol PEP450 wich is a pentaerythritol polypropylene oxide ether linked tetrol having a molecular weight of 405 and Pluracol 493 an ether linked tetrol having a molecular weight of approximately 3630. Ester and ether linked saturated polyols suitable in the present invention are described structurally as ##STR2## where R, R' and R" are organic residues containing at least two hydroxyl radicals and at least one ester and one ether linkage. The following exemplify the present invention. EXAMPLE I The manufacture of the formyloctadecanol of the present invention is accomplished by charging a 1 liter Magne Drive, 316 SS autoclave with 606 grams (2.26 moles) of oleyl alcohol, 3.01 grams of 5% rhodium on alumina and 3 grams (9.68 moles) of triphenylphosphite. The autoclave is sealed and pressurized to 10 atmospheres with nitrogen under stirring and then vented to atmospheric pressure. The nitrogen purge is repeated twice more to ensure removal of any oxygen present in the autoclave. The autoclave is then pressurized a third time with premixed carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas in a 1 to 1 molar ratio to 68 atmospheres at which point heating is started. Stirring is manually controlled at 1250 rpm and the uptake of the mixture of the gases starts at about 100 degrees C. The reaction conditions are then maintained at a temperature of 130 degrees C. and the gas pressure at 70 to 75 atmospheres. The reaction is substantially complete after 4.6 hours and is determined by the cessation of the gas uptake. The confirmation of completeness of the reaction is obtained by sampling the mixture and determining through gas chromatograph analysis that there is less than 1% of the starting alcohol in the mixture. The reaction mixture is then cooled to 75 degrees C., vented to atmospheric pressure and purged twice with nitrogen. The contents of the autoclave are then discharged at 75 degrees C. under nitrogen pressure through a pressure filter. The yield of the formyloctadecanol is greater than 90%. Atomic absorption analysis of the filtered product showed 244 ppm of rhodium. The reaction may be modified by using triphenylphosphine in place of the triphenylphosphite. Alternatively the oleyl alcohol may be substituted for by linoleyl or linolenyl alcohol. The reaction temperature may also be lowered to 90 degrees C. at which point the reaction takes a substantially longer period of time to proceed. As a second alternative the reaction temperature can be raised to about 170 degrees C. and the reaction time considerably lowered. However, some decomposition of the end product may occur above the 170 degree figure so it should not be exceeded. In similar fashion the mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen may be varied as previously described in the Detailed Description of the Invention and may also be varied between about 20 and 500 atmospheres of pressure. The lower end of the pressure range of course slows the reaction rate down while the higher pressure condition increases the reaction but also increases the probability that some of the starting alcohol will be saturated by the hydrogen. EXAMPLE II 5.26 moles (1570 grams) of the formyloctadecanol obtained from Example I is charged into a 5 liter glass round bottom reaction flask equipped with a heat exchanger coil, thermocouple, stirrer, addition inlet, reflux condensor and combination glass electrode. A further reaction charge of 695 grams (12.87 moles) of a 55.6% formaldehyde in methanol solution is added under a nitrogen blanket. A 40% solution of sodium hydroxide is made by dissolving 245.7 grams (5.95 moles) of sodium hydroxide in 368 grams of water under a nitrogen blanket. The caustic solution is added to a charge tank and connected to the feed side of a metering pump. The reaction mixture is heated to 30 degrees C. and the caustic carefully added by means of a metering pump with stirring to adjust the pH to about 10.9. After about forty minutes at 30 degrees C. the addition of the 40% caustic solution is started at a rate of 9.65 milliliters per minute and the temperature of the reaction is increased to 60 degrees C. The addition of caustic required about 45 minutes and the reaction temperature was maintained at 60 degrees C. Gas chromatograph analysis of a sample taken at this time indicated that the reaction was complete and that the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol corresponding to the formyloctadecanol is formed. The reaction is held for an additional 20 minutes at 60 degrees C. after completion of the caustic addition. The stirring is then stopped and the lower aqueous phase (816 grams) was allowed to separate. After washing of the crude gem-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol and its drying under vacuum the amount recovered is 1711 grams corresponding to a yield of greater than 90%. Alternatively linoleyl or linolenyl alcohol derivatives of Example I may be employed under similar conditions. The reaction temperature for the production of the bishydroxymethyloctadecanol may also be conveniently varied between 0 degrees C. and 100 degrees C. as previously discussed. An alternative method of obtaining the bishydroxymethyloctadecanol is to use 6.43 moles of the 55.6% formaldehyde solution thereby yielding the corresponding hydroxymethyl formyloctadecanol as an isolatable product. This material is then reduced through catalytic hydrogenation with copper chromite or through the use of lithium aluminum hydride to give the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol. EXAMPLE III The formyl alcohol of Example I is divided into separate streams and one part is converted to the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol of Example II. The second stream is hydrogenated by charging 1928 grams (6.46 moles) of the formyloctadecanol and a slurry of 108 grams of water-wet Raney nickel which has been washed twice with two 100 ml portions of ethanol. The autoclave (316 SS) is sealed and pressurized to 10 atmospheres of nitrogen with stirring. The autoclave is then vented and then purged twice more with nitrogen to ensure that the oxygen is substantially removed. The autoclave is then pressurized to 55 atmospheres with hydrogen and stirring is commenced. The temperature is controlled between about 100 degrees C. and 116 degrees C. with the hydrogen uptake complete to give the diol in about 2 hours at a yield of greater than 90%. The diol is then mixed with the gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohol in the desired proportions to give a liquid product. EXAMPLE IV A one shot elastomer is prepared by combining 9,9(10,10)-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol and 9(10) hydroxymethyl octadecanol (9:1 ratio) and a 10% stoichiometric excess of an 80:20 mixture of 2,4-tolylene diisocyanate and 2,6-tolylene diisocyanate for two minutes at room temperature during which time the exothermic reaction raises the temperature to 100 degrees C. At this time the product is poured into a mold and is cured for sixteen hours at 100 degrees C. This product was found to be an extremely hard material having a Shore D hardness of 82 and is a crystal clear solid having a great impact resistance. Substantially similar results may be obtained in the above reaction by substituting the higher molecular weight gem-bis(hydroxymethyl) alcohols previously described at the above proportions with the 9(10) hydroxymethyl octadecanol. EXAMPLE V A polyurethane casting is prepared by reacting 58 parts of the 9,9(10,10)-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol with 59 parts of isophoronediisocyanate. The mixture is warmed slightly to promote homogeneity. A small portion of dibutyltindilaurate (0.46 parts) is added to the foregoing mixture with rapid stirring whereupon the mixture sets into a clear, colorless, hard solid in about one minute. A distinct advantage in the products of the present invention is that they tend to cure into clear, colorless solids. EXAMPLE VI A polyurethane elastomer of the present invention is produced from a mixture comprising 90% by weight of 9,9(10,10)-bis(hydroxymethyl) octadecanol and 10% by weight of 9(10) hydroxymethyl octadecanol through reaction with a 10% stoichiometric excess of isophorone-diisocyanate for one hour at 80 degrees C. followed by pouring the reaction mixture into a mold. The molded specimen is further cured for sixteen hours at 100 degrees C. and thereafter removed from the mold. The polyurethane elastomer so obtained is extremely hard having a Shore D hardness of 76 and appears as a crystal clear solid which did not fracture upon striking soundly with a hammer. Substantially similar results may be obtained in the above reaction by substituting the higher molecular weight geminal alcohols previously described at the above proportions with the 9(10) hydroxymethyl octadecanol. EXAMPLE VII A microcellular foam is obtained in accordance with the present invention as follows. An isocyanate terminated prepolymer is first prepared by combining 4 equivalents of the 9,9(10,10)-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol, 2 equivalents of Polymeg 1000 (a hydroxyl functional copolymer having a molecular weight of 1000) and 14 equivalents of tolylene diisocyanate. The prepolymer is obtained by demoisturizing the geminal alcohol and the Polymeg 1000 and thereafter adding the tolylene diisocyanate under a nitrogen blanket at 70 degrees C. The prepolymer has an isocyanate content of about 12.3%. The foam is prepared by adding 108.97 parts of the prepolymer to 41.13 parts (7.8 equivalents) of the 9,9(10,10)-bis(hydroxymethyl)octadecanol and 1% of surfactant DC-190 in a reactor with 5% by weight of Freon 11B used as a blowing agent. The components are mixed together and stirred with a high speed mechanical stirrer for 11/2 minutes and 0.01% by weight of dibutyltindilaurate is added and stirring is continued for another 30 seconds. The creamy mass is then poured into a mold (presprayed with a mold release agent) which has been preheated to 100 degrees C. The mold is then closed and placed in an oven at 100 degrees C. for one hour. The foam in the mold is then postcured in the oven at 70 degrees C. for an additional sixteen hours. The microcellular foam of the present invention when tested has the properties shown in Table I. ______________________________________Density in Pounds Per Cubic Foot 30.69Shore A Hardness 85Bashore Rebound 39Tensile strength in Pounds Per Square Inch 644Split Tear, pi 40Flexural Yield Strength (Pounds Per Square Inch) 51Compression Strength (Pounds Per Square Inch) 10% Deflection 100 25% Deflection 234 50% Deflection 719______________________________________



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