Simple yttrium salts as highly active and controlled catalysts for the atom-efficient synthesis of high molecular weight polyesters

Chem Sci. 2022 Aug 24;13(35):10437-10447. doi: 10.1039/d2sc02745c. eCollection 2022 Sep 14.

ABSTRACT

The ring-opening copolymerization (ROCOP) of epoxides and cyclic anhydrides is a promising route to sustainable aliphatic polyesters with diverse mechanical and thermal properties. Here, simple yttrium chloride salts (YCl3THF3.5 and YCl3·6H2O), in combination with a bis(triphenylphosphoranylidene)ammonium chloride [PPN]Cl cocatalyst, are used as efficient and controlled catalysts for ten epoxide and anhydride combinations. In comparison to past literature, this simple salt system exhibits competitive turn-over frequencies (TOFs) for most monomer pairs. Despite no supporting ligand framework, these salts provide excellent control of dispersity, with suppression of side reactions. Using these catalysts, the highest molecular weight reported to date (302.2 kDa) has been obtained with a monosubstituted epoxide and tricyclic anhydride. These data indicate that excellent molecular weight control and suppression of side reactions for ROCOP of epoxides and cyclic anhydrides can coincide with high activity using a simple catalytic system, warranting further research in working towards industrial viability.

PMID:36277642 | PMC:PMC9473511 | DOI:10.1039/d2sc02745c

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