Linear polyester synthesized from furfural-based monomer by photoreaction in sunlight†
A novel linear polyester was synthesized from furfural-based monomer through solvent-free polymerization using sunlight. Furfural was first converted to 2-furanacrylic acid as a key photoreactive building block. The desired monomer was then prepared by linking two 2-furanacrylic acid molecules with 1,5-pentanediol, which can also be produced from furfural. An important photoreactive crystalline assembly of the monomer was characterized by powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction. The new linear polyester that contains 100% components from biomass-derived chemicals was synthesized by sunlight photoreaction of the pre-organized monomer in the solid state in 24 hours. The solvent-free sunlight photoreaction process was monitored by FT-IR and a key intermediate was confirmed by single crystal X-ray diffraction. Nanofiber of the linear polyester was observed under TEM. Similar to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in beverage bottles, the novel polyester contains alternating rigid and flexible moieties in the polymer chain.