Vanillin: A Biobased Crosslinker for Melamine-Formaldehyde Coatings (RFT-520)

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Invention Summary

In an effort to improve environmental bio-compatibility, bio-based materials have been explored as alternatives to petrochemical-based composites. Specifically, there is currently an unmet need in the field for bio-based aromatic compounds. Lignin is the most abundant aromatic biopolymer with excellent thermal and mechanical properties. One of its degradation products, vanillin, is considered a waste product in pulp and paper industries making it cost-effective as a building block for polymers. Webster et al have crosslinked the phenolic group on vanillin with melamine-formaldehyde (MF) resins which have numerous applications such as laminate flooring, cabinetry, surface coatings, textile finishes, and paper processing.  They developed a novel synthetic approach resulting in various resins and coating compositions in which vanillin significantly increased impact, hardness, and solvent resistance.


  • Abundant polymer that is readily available
  • Vanillin is already produced on a commercial scale
  • Cost-effective
  • Decreased environmental impact
  • Applications in baking enamels for metal substrates such as container coatings, coil coatings, furniture, and fixtures


The technology includes resins and coating compositions of vanillin incorporated melamine-formaldehyde resin that can include the use of solvents and coating additives.


This technology is patent pending with fully preserved PCT patent rights and is available for licensing/partnering opportunities.


Henry Nowak, Technology Manager

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