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Issue 18, 2019
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Tuning a robust system: N,O zinc guanidine catalysts for the ROP of lactide

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Abstract

Non-toxic, highly active and robust complexes are the holy grail as ideal green catalysts for the polymerisation of biorenewable and biodegradable polylactide. Four new zinc guanidine complexes [ZnCl2(TMG4NMe2asme)], [ZnCl2(TMG5Clasme)], [ZnCl2(TMG5Measme)] and [ZnCl2(TMG5NMe2asme)] with different electron-donating and electron-withdrawing groups on the ligand's aromatic backbone have been synthesised. Ligands are derived from low-cost commercially available compounds and have been converted by a three- or four-step synthesis process into the desired ligand in good yields. The compounds have been fully characterised and tested in the ROP of rac-LA under industrially relevant conditions. The complexes are based on the recently published structure [ZnCl2(TMGasme)] which has shown high activity in the polymerisation of lactide at 150 °C. Different substituents in the para-position of the guanidine moiety significantly increase the polymerisation rate whereas positioning substituents in the meta-position causes no change in the reaction rate. With molecular weights over 71 000 g mol−1 being achievable, the best system produces polymers for multiple industrial applications and its polymerisation rate approaches that of Sn(Oct)2. The robust systems are able to polymerise non-purified lactide. The initiation of the polymerisation is suggested to occur due to impurities in the monomer.

Graphical abstract: Tuning a robust system: N,O zinc guanidine catalysts for the ROP of lactide

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
15 Dec 2018
Accepted
29 Jan 2019
First published
29 Jan 2019

Dalton Trans., 2019,48, 6071-6082
Article type
Paper

Tuning a robust system: N,O zinc guanidine catalysts for the ROP of lactide

P. M. Schäfer, P. McKeown, M. Fuchs, R. D. Rittinghaus, A. Hermann, J. Henkel, S. Seidel, C. Roitzheim, A. N. Ksiazkiewicz, A. Hoffmann, A. Pich, M. D. Jones and S. Herres-Pawlis, Dalton Trans., 2019, 48, 6071
DOI: 10.1039/C8DT04938F

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