DIC Develops Basic Technology for an Innovative Epoxy Resin Curing Agent
That Is Heat-Resistant up to over 200°C and Can Be Recycled
—New technology will facilitate the remolding of epoxy resins, a difficult-to-recycle thermosetting plastic—

  • R&D
  • News Release
Feb. 28, 2024
#DIC # EpoxyResin #thermosetting plastic #difficult-to-recycle

Tokyo, Japan—DIC Corporation today announced that it has succeeded in developing basic technology for a groundbreaking epoxy resin curing agent that resists heat up to over 200°C and can be recycled. In addition to preserving the outstanding conventional qualities of epoxy resins, including excellent heat resistance, durability and mechanical properties, this new agent will facilitate remolding, making it possible to reuse this traditionally difficult-to-recycle thermosetting plastic. This agent also makes it possible to reshape molded epoxy products so they can continue to be used for their original intended application, reducing environmental impact over the entire product lifecycle and contributing to the achievement of carbon neutrality. The Company aims to advance to the verification test stage by 2027.

Background to Development
With the issue of waste plastics being an increasingly urgent social imperative in recent years, efforts to step up the recycling of thermoplastic products, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, is accelerating around the world. This is possible because of the heat-deformable nature of thermoplastics. However, epoxy resins and other thermosetting plastics, which are favored for applications requiring durability and heat resistance—such as automobiles and electrical appliances—are difficult to recycle because they harden when heated.

To address this issue, DIC has developed basic technology for a groundbreaking epoxy resin curing agent that preserves the exceptional properties of epoxy resins, notably heat resistance, durability, adhesiveness, mechanical strength and electrical insulation, while also allowing remolding.

Technology Overview
DIC’s epoxy resins have contributed to the expansion of the 5G cellular networks and have demonstrated outstanding performance as a key material in the areas of renewable energy, including in solar and wind power generation equipment, and energy conservation, in products such as power semiconductors. The Company’s epoxy resins are also used as the matrix resin for glass fiber– and carbon fiber–reinforced plastics (GFRP and CFRP), important in helping reduce weight in mobility solutions, particularly automobiles.

Deployment of this new basic technology will facilitate the remolding of epoxy resins, which had previously been difficult to recycle. DIC’s research has confirmed that its new basic technology will allow the production of a curing agent that preserves epoxy resins’ high glass transition temperature of 240°C and compatibility with lead-free solder, while also maintaining a consistent recovery rate of over 90% in heat resistance and mechanical strength, even after being recycled five times. The Company looks forward to this technology contributing both to the reduction of plastic waste and to the collection and reuse of resin materials used in composites and electronic devices.

Quote from the head of the development team
Kazuo Arita, Senior Scientist, Advanced Material Research Center, R&D Management Unit
“We recognize the importance of technological innovation and R&D in the domain of materials chemistry to the achievement of carbon neutrality. Looking ahead, we aim to widen our focus to encompass a broader range of fields through collaboration with partners in academia, industry and government, thereby contributing further to a healthy environment and a sustainable future.”

Outlook for the Future
In its DIC Vision 2030 long-term management plan, the Company sets forth a basic strategy of expanding its operations with a core focus on sustainable products with the goal of helping realize a carbon-neutral society. The DIC Group will continue to promote the development of innovative technologies that help address social imperatives and reinforce its sustainable product portfolio.

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About DIC Corporation
DIC Corporation is one of the world’s leading fine chemicals companies and the core of the DIC Group, a multinational organization comprising over 190 companies, including Sun Chemical Corporation, in more than 60 countries and territories. The DIC Group is recognized as a global leader in the markets for a variety of products essential to modern lifestyles, notably packaging materials, display materials such as those used in television and computer displays, and high-performance materials for smartphones and other digital devices, as well as for automobiles. Through such products, the Group endeavors to deliver safety and peace of mind, and color and comfort, to people everywhere. The DIC Group also seeks to contribute to a sustainable society by developing innovative products that respond to social change and which help address social imperatives. With annual consolidated net sales exceeding ¥1 trillion and 22,000-plus employees worldwide, the Group pledges to continue working in close cooperation with its customers wherever they are. For more information, please visit the DIC global website. https://www.dic-global.com/