Historically, the use of “green” materials around the world has been limited due to their higher production costs when compared to petrochemical derived materials. However, due to the recent volatility and increasing price of petroleum derivatives, there is a growing demand for the use of environmentally friendly materials. One of the most commonly used materials for bitumen modification are poly(styrene-block-butadiene-block-styrene) (SBS) type polymers. Recently, Iowa State University Chemical Engineering Department was able to synthetize thermoplastic elastomers using acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO), a bioadvantaged replacement of butadiene, and styrene with the use of controlled radical polymerization techniques. Initial rheological tests conducted on the bitumen-polymer blends have shown that the biopolymers improve the complex shear modulus of the bitumen to a similar and even greater extent as the commercially available SBS polymers.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eric_cochran/20/