The exploration of a renewable resource for the preparation of waterborne copolymers was conducted. Low molar mass sugar resources were selected for their wide availability. A fructose-based monomer (MF) bearing a methacrylate radically polymerizable group was successfully synthesized. The latter was shown to be able to homopolymerize in emulsion. The high Tg
of the resulting polymer (about 115 °C) makes it of particular interest for adhesive and coating applications where hard materials are necessary to ensure valuable properties. As a result, its incorporation in waterborne acrylic containing formulations as an equivalent to petrochemical-based methyl methacrylate was investigated. It was found that the bio-based monomer exhibited similar behavior to that of common methacrylates, as shown by polymerization kinetics and particle size evolution. Furthermore, the homogeneous incorporation of the sugar units into the acrylate chains was confirmed by a unique glass transition temperature in differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). The potential of MF for the production of waterborne copolymers was greatly valued by the successful increase of formulation solids content up to 45 wt %. Interestingly, polymer insolubility in tetrahydrofurane increased with time due to further reactions occurring in storage. Most likely, the partial deprotection of sugar units was the reason for the creation of hydrogen bonding and, thus, physically insoluble entangled chains. This behavior highlights opportunities to make use of hydroxyl groups either for further functionalization or, eventually, for achieving enhanced adhesion on casted substrates.
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