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Make or break: Mg(ii)- and Zn(ii)-catalen complexes for PLA production and recycling of commodity polyesters

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Abstract

Recently we reported a series of highly active Al(III)-complexes bearing a catalen ligand support for lactide polymerisation, observing unprecedented activity in the melt. Herein we report diversification of the metal to furnish a series of well-defined dimeric Zn(II)- and Mg(II)-complexes, which were fully characterised by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. The production of biocompatible atactic PLA from rac-LA in solution and under industrially preferred solvent-free conditions was demonstrated, typically observing good activity and Mn control with a broad range of dispersities (Đ = 1.08–2.04). Mg(II)-Complexes were shown to facilitate the relatively mild methanolysis of PLA, achieving up to 64% conversion to Me-LA within 8 h at 80 °C in THF. Further kinetic analysis found [Mg(1,3)]2 to have kapp values of 0.628 ± 0.0536 {4 wt% cat. loading} and 0.265 ± 0.0193 h−1 {8 wt% cat. loading} respectively for the rate of consumption of PLA. Preliminary work extended polymer scope to PET from various sources, demonstrating catalyst versatility.

Graphical abstract: Make or break: Mg(ii)- and Zn(ii)-catalen complexes for PLA production and recycling of commodity polyesters

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
30 Oct 2020
Accepted
23 Dec 2020
First published
12 Jan 2021

This article is Open Access

Polym. Chem., 2021, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Make or break: Mg(II)- and Zn(II)-catalen complexes for PLA production and recycling of commodity polyesters

J. Payne, P. McKeown, O. Driscoll, G. Kociok-Köhn, E. A. C. Emanuelsson and M. D. Jones, Polym. Chem., 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0PY01519A

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