Research database

ReproNet - Reprocessable thermosets via dynamic polymer networks

24 months (2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Nationally funded research - PRIN
Funding body:
Project identification number:
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ReproNet addresses the design, preparation and development of novel, sustainable and recyclable dynamic polymer networks. The aim is to obtain a new class of high performance and melt-processable materials for the replacement of conventional epoxy resins, which are non-recyclable by thermomechanical methods. Dynamically crosslinked materials has recently been proposed as an alternative to thermosets, thanks to the possibility to be reprocessed, exploiting the dynamic exchange of covalent bonds. However, the state of the art dynamic networks suffer strong limitations in both synthesis, carried out in organic solvents, and processability, typically limited to compression moulding only, precluding transfer to industrial applications. In this scenario, ReproNet is aimed to bridge between the chemistry of dynamic networks and technology of polymer processing, by the design and validation of a novel class of sustainable dynamic networks. The proposed strategy is based on the exploitation of different linear polymers, with chemical structure similar to conventional bisphenol A-based epoxy resins, which are dynamically crosslinked by the exploitation of bonds exchange in covalent adaptable networks or bond cleavage in thermoreversible networks. With this approach, ReproNet addresses fundamental research aspects related to the efficient and sustainable synthesis of linear polymers, to the tailoring of dynamics in bond exchange processes and design of processing conditions to control reactions in the molten polymers. Attention to sustainability of materials and processes is applied throughout the whole project, including 1) the selection of bio-sourced polymers as an alternative to conventional phenoxy resins, 2) the reactive melt processing (solventless) for the functionalization of linear polymers and the synthesis of dynamic networks and 3) the recyclability of materials from the envisaged applications. ReproNet is therefore aiming at providing materials solutions enabling a circular economy system, to substitute the “take-make-dispose” model with the circular “take-make-remake” one. ReproNet research will bring potentially groundbreaking innovation in several industrial fields, in bulk applications such as interleafs for toughening of epoxy composites and electric&electronics boards, as well in hot-melt adhesives, including on-demand debonding applications. ReproNet partnership is designed to fully cover the wide range of expertise needed for successfully tackling its challenging objectives. The principal investigator of the project, Prof. Alberto Fina, brings expertise in the field of polymer reactive processing, thermomechanical properties and recycling. The team is completed by Prof. Enrico Dalcanale, leading scientist in the field of polymer chemistry applied to dynamically crosslinked systems, and by Prof. Veronica Ambrogi, recognized expert in the production and exploitation of bio-based epoxy precursors as well as in polymer rheology.



ERC sectors

PE8_8 - Materials engineering (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, etc.)
PE5_15 - Polymer chemistry

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 12. Garantire modelli sostenibili di produzione e di consumo


Total cost: € 264,834.00
Total contribution: € 198,563.00
PoliTo total cost: € 102,403.00
PoliTo contribution: € 71,227.00