Furfural-based 2,2'-bifurans: Synthesis and applications in polymers

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa L5. Remote connection: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/63262087858

Topic of the dissertation

Furfural-based 2,2'-bifurans: Synthesis and applications in polymers

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science Tuomo Kainulainen

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry

Subject of study



Professor Heikki Tenhu, University of Helsinki


Adjunct Professor Juha Heiskanen, University of Oulu

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High-performance bioplastics from furfural

In this work, new furfural-based bioplastics were investigated. Furfural is a simple plant-biomass derived renewable chemical that is produced at a commercial scale. In the current study, it was revealed that novel furfural-based bioplastics had several improved properties over traditional non-renewable plastics.

Developing renewable high-performance plastics is a significant challenge, which requires the identification and study of appropriate starting materials. In this study, the research was centered on so-called bifuran compounds, which are derived from furfural. For their synthesis, a new palladium catalyzed coupling reaction method was developed. Materials made from the bifuran compounds had several interesting properties, including strong UV-light filtering effect and lowered oxygen gas permeability. In terms of their other properties, these materials were found to bear resemblance to traditional materials currently in use.

Although furfural is a long-utilized renewable compound, the current results demonstrate that by using novel upgrading strategies it can serve as a starting material for high-performance bioplastics. These in turn can challenge traditional fossil-based plastics. The studied bifuran-based materials could be useful in, for instance, advanced renewable packaging materials.
Last updated: 1.3.2023