If we talk about polyester and polyamide, we must look for the family of polymers. Polymers are made up of a long chain (backbone), which is made up of molecules. These molecules are called monomers and the union of 5 or more monomers make up the polymer.
There are countless types of polymers. Examples are Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS) or the famous Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Like these, Polyester and Polyamides are also polymers, but what exactly are these types of polymer?
On one hand, Polyesters are polymers where their monomers are linked through a specific functional group called ester. Polyester is a very resistant material to humidity and chemicals, so it goes very well for the manufacture of fibres and is familiar to us in the fashion world. On the other hand, when we talk about Polyamides, it is because they contain amide-type bonds. Polyamides can be found in nature such as wool or silk, or synthetically, with examples such as Nylon® and Kevlar®. Nowadays, mostly of these polymers are manufactured using petroleum-based raw materials. But the industry is constantly change and it is going to a more sustainable product.
Within the LIBERATE project, a monomer called 3-propyladipic acid is obtained through an electro-chemical oxidation of biogenic cyclohexanols, obtained from natural and sustainable sources. This compound opens a new window of sustainable precursors for Polyamide and Polyesters and will offer an attractive drop-in replacement to petrochemical monomers.