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Issue 8, 2011
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Controlled polymerisation of lactide using an organo-catalyst in supercritical carbon dioxide

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Abstract

The controlled, ring-opening polymerisation of DL-lactide in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) using benzyl alcohol as an initiator and 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) as an organo-catalyst, is reported. Despite reports of DBU being efficiently converted to a carbonate salt in the presence of a proton source, it was found that DBU was still an efficient catalyst for the ring opening polymerisation of DL-lactide. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time of flight mass spectroscopy and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis demonstrated that end-group fidelity was maintained on the resulting polymer and significant transesterification was not observed under anhydrous conditions. We report a truly ‘green’ process for the synthesis of polylactic acid (PLA) with the total absence of potentially toxic organic solvents and inorganic catalysts. In addition, the reaction in scCO2 is conducted at temperatures much lower than that required for bulk polymerisation of LA.

Graphical abstract: Controlled polymerisation of lactide using an organo-catalyst in supercritical carbon dioxide

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Mar 2011, accepted on 04 May 2011 and first published on 23 Jun 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1GC15344G
Citation: Green Chem., 2011,13, 2032-2037
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    Controlled polymerisation of lactide using an organo-catalyst in supercritical carbon dioxide

    I. Blakey, A. Yu, S. M. Howdle, A. K. Whittaker and K. J. Thurecht, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 2032
    DOI: 10.1039/C1GC15344G

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