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Issue 13, 2020
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Mono- and dimeric zinc(ii) complexes for PLA production and degradation into methyl lactate – a chemical recycling method

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Abstract

A series of well-defined mono- and dimeric Zn(II)-complexes were prepared and fully characterised by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. Their application to the ROP of rac-LA to produce biocompatible atactic PLA was demonstrated in both solution and under industrially preferred melt conditions at 180 °C with a [rac-LA] : [Init] : [BnOH] of 3000 : 1 : 10. Exceptional activity was observed in all instances, albeit with generally poor molecular weight control (Mn) and broad dispersities (Đ), with dimers outperforming their monomeric counterparts. The propensity of all Zn(II)-complexes to facilitate PLA degradation into methyl lactate (Me-LA) under mild conditions is also demonstrated. Zn(2–3)2 were identified as the outstanding candidates, achieving full conversion to Me-LA within 8 h at 80 °C in THF. Further degradation kinetic analysis revealed Zn(2–3)2 to have kapp values of 0.63 ± 0.051 and 0.44 ± 0.029 h−1 for the rate of consumption of PLA respectively.

Graphical abstract: Mono- and dimeric zinc(ii) complexes for PLA production and degradation into methyl lactate – a chemical recycling method

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
05 Feb 2020
Accepted
25 Feb 2020
First published
27 Feb 2020

This article is Open Access

Polym. Chem., 2020,11, 2381-2389
Article type
Paper

Mono- and dimeric zinc(II) complexes for PLA production and degradation into methyl lactate – a chemical recycling method

J. Payne, P. McKeown, M. F. Mahon, E. A. C. Emanuelsson and M. D. Jones, Polym. Chem., 2020, 11, 2381
DOI: 10.1039/D0PY00192A

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