Chemical Recycling of End-of-Life Poly(lactide) via Zinc-Catalyzed Depolymerization and Polymerization.
ABSTRACT: The chemical recycling of poly(lactide) was investigated based on depolymerization and polymerization processes. Using methanol as depolymerization reagent and zinc salts as catalyst, poly(lactide) was depolymerized to methyl lactate applying microwave heating. An excellent performance was observed for zinc(II) acetate with turnover frequencies of up to 45000?h-1. In a second step the monomer methyl lactate was converted to (pre)poly(lactide) in the presence of catalytic amounts of zinc salts. Here zinc(II) triflate revealed excellent performance for the polymerization process (yield: 91?%, Mn ?8970?g/mol). Moreover, the (pre)poly(lactide) was depolymerized to lactide, the industrial relevant molecule for accessing high molecular weight poly(lactide), using zinc(II) acetate as catalyst.
Project description:The intrinsic drawback of slow crystallization rate of poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) inevitably deteriorates its final properties of the molded articles. In this work, we proposed a new strategy towards poly(l-lactide) with enhanced crystallization rate by ring opening polymerization (ROP) of l-lactide (l-LA) catalyzed by biocompatible zinc salts of amino acids. For the first time we developed a one-pot facile method of zinc salts of amino acids acting dual roles of catalysis of l-LA polymerization and in situ nucleation of the as-prepared PLLA. Nine zinc salts of different amino acids, including three kinds of amino acids ligands (alanine, phenylalanine, and proline) with l/d-enantiomers and their equimolar racemic mixtures, were first prepared and tested as catalysts of l-LA polymerization. A partial racemization was observed for zinc salts of amino acids whereas no racemization was detected for the reference stannous octoate. The polymerization mechanism study showed that the interaction of zinc salts of amino acids and benzyl alcohol forms the actual initiator for l-LA polymerization. Isothermal crystallization kinetics analysis showed that the residual zinc salts of amino acids exhibited a significant nucleation effect on PLLA, evidenced by the promotion of the crystallization rate, depending on the amino acid ligand and its configuration. Meanwhile, the residual zinc salts of amino acids did not compromise the thermal stability of the pristine PLLA.
Project description:Polylactide and polycaprolactone are both biodegradable polymers produced through metal-catalyzed ring-opening polymerization. For a truly sustainable lifecycle of these polymers it is essential to replace the industrially used cytotoxic catalyst tin(II) bis(2-ethylhexanoate) [Sn(Oct)<sub>2</sub> ] with non-toxic alternatives. Here, we report the fastest known robust catalyst in the polymerization of lactide and ?-caprolactone. This zinc guanidine catalyst can polymerize non-purified technical rac-lactide and ?-caprolactone in the melt at different [M]/[I] ratios with fast rate constants, high molar masses, and high yields in a short time, leading to colorless, transparent polymer. Moreover, we report that polylactide and polycaprolactone produced by zinc-guanidine complexes have favorably high crystallinities. In fact, the obtained polylactide shows a more robust degradation profile than its Sn(Oct)<sub>2</sub> -catalysed equivalent due to a higher degree of crystallinity.
Project description:Depolymerization is an emerging and promising route for the value-added utilization of low-rank coal (LRC) resources, and how to use the complex depolymerized mixtures efficiently is of great importance for this route. In this work, we designed the rational route of using depolymerized mixtures from lignite <i>via</i> ruthenium ion-catalyzed oxidation (RICO) depolymerization directly without complex separation to construct a Zr-based hydrogenation catalyst. The prepared catalyst was applied into the catalytic transfer hydrogenation of biomass-derived carbonyl compounds. Meanwhile, a copper-based oxidation catalyst was also constructed via a similar route to investigate the universality of the proposed route. Special insights were given into how the depolymerized components with different structures influenced the performances of the catalysts. The effects of the solvents used during the catalyst preparation (H<sub>2</sub>O and DMF) were also studied. The results showed that the proposed route using the depolymerized mixtures from lignite <i>via</i> RICO to construct catalysts was feasible for both Zr-based and Cu-based catalysts. The two catalysts prepared gave high efficiency for their corresponding reaction, <i>i.e.</i>, the Zr-based catalyst for catalytic transfer hydrogenation of biomass-derived carbonyl compounds and the Cu-based catalyst for selective oxidation of alcohols into aldehydes. Different depolymerized components contributed differently to the activity of the catalyst, and the solvents during the preparation process could also influence the activity of the catalyst. The depolymerized components and the solvents influenced the activities of the Zr-based catalyst mainly <i>via</i> changing the Zr contents, the microenvironment of Zr<sup>4+</sup>, and the specific areas of the catalyst.
Project description:Sustainable plastics sourced without virgin petrochemicals, that are easily recyclable and with potential for degradation at end of life, are urgently needed. Here, copolymersand blends meeting these criteria are efficiently prepared using a single catalyst and existing commercial monomers l-lactide, propylene oxide, and maleic anhydride. The selective, one-reactor polymerization applies an industry-relevant tin(II) catalyst. Tapered, miscible block polyesters are formed with alkene groups which are postfunctionalized to modulate the polymer glass transition temperature. The polymers are blended at desirable low weight fractions (2 wt %) with commercial poly(l-lactide) (PLLA), increasing toughness, and elongation at break without compromising the elastic modulus, tensile strength, or thermal properties. The selective polymerization catalysis, using commercial monomers and catalyst, provides a straightforward means to improve bioplastics performances.
Project description:Neutral zinc alkoxide complexes show high activity toward the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters and carbonates, to generate biodegradable plastics applicable in several areas. Herein, we use a ferrocene-chelating heteroscorpionate complex in redox-switchable polymerization reactions, and we show that it is a moderately active catalyst for the ring-opening polymerization of L-lactide, ?-caprolactone, trimethylene carbonate, and ?-valerolactone. Uniquely for this type of catalyst, the oxidized complex has a similar polymerization activity as the corresponding reduced compound, but displays significantly different rates of reaction in the case of trimethylene carbonate and ?-valerolactone. Investigations of the oxidized compound suggest the presence of an organic radical rather than an Fe(III) complex. Electronic structure and density functional theory (DFT) calculations were performed to support the proposed electronic states of the catalytic complex and to help explain the observed reactivity differences. The catalyst was also compared with a monomeric phenoxide complex to show the influence of the phosphine-zinc interaction on catalytic properties.
Project description:Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is a biodegradable copolymer that is also acceptable for use in a variety of biomedical applications. Typically, a random PLGA polymer is synthesized in a bulk batch polymerization using a tin-based catalyst at high temperatures. This methodology results in relatively broad polydispersity indexes (PDIs) due to transesterification, and the polymer product is often discolored. We report here the use of 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]-undec-7-ene (DBU), a known, effective, and convenient organocatalyst for the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters, to synthesize random copolymers of lactide and glycolide. The polymerization kinetics of the homo- and copolymerizations of lactide and glycolide were explored via NMR spectroscopy. A novel strategy that employs a controlled addition of the more reactive glycolide monomer to a solution containing the lactide monomer, the poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) macroinitiator, and DBU catalyst was developed. Using this tactic (semi-batch polymerization), we synthesized a series of block copolymers that exhibited excellent correlation of the expected and observed molecular weights and possessed narrow PDIs. We also measured the thermal properties of these block copolymers and observed trends based on the composition of the block copolymer. We also explored the need for experimental rigor in several aspects of the preparations and have identified a set of convenient reaction conditions that provide polymer products that retain the aforementioned desirable characteristics. These polymerizations proceed rapidly at room temperature and without the need for tin-based catalysts to provide PEG-b-PLGAs suitable for use in biomedical investigations.
Project description:Reactive extrusion and magnesium (II) N-heterocyclic carbene catalyst are successfully employed in continuous polylactide synthesis. The possibility of using six-membered N-heterocyclic carbene adducts to act as efficient catalysts towards the sustainable synthesis of poly(l-lactide) through ring-opening polymerization of l-lactide (LA) is first investigated in bulk batch reactions. Under optimized solvent-free conditions, polylactide (PLA) of moderate to high molecular weights and excellent optical activities are successfully achieved. These promising results are further applied in the continuous production of PLA in an extruder.
Project description:A family of different substituents aza(oxazoline) ligand-based zinc and magnesium complexes were synthesized. These complexes can catalyze ring opening polymerization of ?-caprolactone (?-CL) and lactide (LA) to produce poly-?-caprolactone and polylactide with good conversions. Polymerization studies showed that the zinc complexes <b>1a</b>-<b>4a</b> had moderate activity toward LA and ?-CL polymerization. In situ IR spectroscopy research of zinc complexes showed that the N-donor group-substituted complexes had higher activity than that of the O-ether donor group. The substituted analogies and the flexibility of the amino backbone had a distinct influence on the activity of LA and ?-CL polymerization. The alternates of zinc with magnesium produced complexes <b>5a</b>-<b>8a</b>, which achieved an obviously increased polymerization activity. Among these magnesium complexes, <b>7a</b> showed the highest activity in the polymerization of LA. At [M]/[cat] = 1000, the reaction progress was stabilized in 5 min with up to 97% conversion of a monomer at ambient temperature.
Project description:Polylactide (PLA) is a high potential bioplastic that can replace oil-based plastics in a number of applications. To date, in spite of its known toxicity, a tin catalyst is used on industrial scale which should be replaced by a benign catalyst in the long run. Germanium is known to be unharmful while having similar properties as tin. Only few germylene catalysts are known so far and none has shown the potential for industrial application. We herein present Ge complexes in combination with zinc and copper, which show amazingly high polymerization activities for lactide in bulk at 150 °C. By systematical variation of the complex structure, proven by single-crystal XRD and DFT calculations, structure-property relationships are found regarding the polymerization activity. Even in the presence of zinc and copper, germanium acts as the active site for polymerizing probably through the coordination-insertion mechanism to high molar mass polymers.
Project description:A simple zinc catalyst showing high activity for both the synthesis of polylactide, a biodegradable polymer produced from renewable feedstock, and its degradation was described. In the ring-opening polymerization of lactides, the zinc catalyst showed one of the highest activities reported in the literature for reactions carried out in solution at room temperature. This excellent performance was preserved even when the process was performed under industrial conditions: at high temperature, in the absence of solvent, and by using a low catalyst loading with unpurified monomers. The same complex revealed high efficiency also in depolymerization of polylactide by alcoholysis, a process that occurred efficiently at room temperature and in the absence of solvent, conditions that reduce costs and guarantee low environmental impact.