Aluminium salen and salan catalysts for polymerisation of novel monomers and macrostructures
MacDonald, Jarret Preston
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Aluminium salen and aluminium salan complexes are excellent catalysts for the ring-opening polymerisation of lactide. This thesis studied their efficacy in the polymerisation of novel monomers and their ability to build new macrostructures. Aluminium salen and aluminium salan complexes were tested as catalysts for ring-opening polymerisation of common aliphatic monomers where controlled polymer synthesis has not yet been achieved with similar systems. Excellent control over molecular weight and dispersity was achieved for β-caprolactone polymerisation, with high molecular weights accessible. Immortal polymerisation could also be performed with an extremely high level of chain transfer agent (up to 100 equivalents) and the highest monomer turnover (10000 monomer equivalents) with aluminium salen catalysts to date. Addition of functional groups to the monomer was also studied; the effect of steric bulk in polymerisation of methylsubstituted derivatives was significant. Protected alcohol functionalities can also be introduced into easily synthesised homopolymers and copolymers. The first example of synthesising a polyester with aromatic functionality within the polymer backbone via polymerisation of cyclic ester monomers was studied with an aluminium salen catalyst. 2,3-Dihydro-5H-1,4-benzodioxepin-5-one polymerisation was facile and proceeded under mild conditions. The resulting polymer could be depolymerised back to starting monomer with the same aluminium salen catalyst under dilute conditions. Random, AB diblock and ABA triblock copolymers were readily synthesised with L-lactide and β-butyrolactone as comonomers. Block copolymers with β-butyrolactone could also be selectively depolymerised, to give poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) homopolymers. Attempted polymerisation of a range of other aromatic monomers was unsuccessful due to addition of steric bulk, changing orientation of the monomer ester bond or decreasing the ring size. Synthesis of homopolymer and ABA triblock copolymers with L-lactide and alkyl-substituted β-lactones was investigated. Homopolymerisation of all alkyl-substituted β-lactones resulted in well controlled polymer, with rate decreasing as alkyl-substituent length increased. A sequential addition of monomers method with β-butyrolactone, β-valerolactone and β-heptanolactone was employed for copolymer synthesis. Copolymers synthesised from β-butyrolactone and β-valerolactone resulted in tunable glass transition and melting temperatures. Copolymers synthesised from β-heptanolactone resulted in thermoplastic elastomers exhibiting microphase separation, supported by differential scanning calorimetry and small-angle X-ray scattering. Finally, optimisation of in situ generated carbonylation catalysts was studied. Optimisation of literature complexes allowed for synthesis of β-valerolactone, β- heptanolactone, β-tridecalactone, 4-chloro-β-butyrolactone and β-6-heptenolactone on relatively large scales under much easier experimental protocols. Additionally, tuning of ortho-phenylene bridged salen ligand framework gave to structure-activity relationships. Using this optimised catalyst system, 4-chloro-β-butyrolactone and β- 6-heptenolactone were prepared and used in ring opening polymerisation. Well controlled and efficient polymerisation of 4-chloro-β-butyrolactone was easily achieved with aluminium salen and salan catalysts. Homopolymers and block copolymers with poly(ethylene glycol) and β-6-heptenolactone were readily synthesised.