Ring-opening polymerisation of 1,3-Dioxolan-4-ones
Cairns, Stefan Alexander
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Polyesters have been realised as a viable replacement for slow or non-degrading petroleum derived polymers. A variety of aliphatic polyesters, e.g. poly(lactic acid), have received a lot of attention because they are produced from renewable feedstocks and have the ability to biodegrade and bioassimilate. Poly(lactic acid)’s broader family, poly(α-hydroxy acid)s, have been produced with a wide variety of properties, that has given polyesters the potential for a more diverse range of applications. However, their synthesis has proven difficult. This thesis investigates a family of 1,3-dioxolan-4-ones as a monomer source to ease difficulties in current synthetic routes. Polymerisation of the parent 1,3-dixoxolan-4-one was tested. The copolymerisation of Llactide and 1,3-dioxolan-4-one was conducted with various monomer feedstocks. Ringopening polymerisation of 1,3-dioxolan-4-one led to the formation of paraformaldehyde as a polymerisation by-product. The copolymerisation was found to be best controlled when using a coordination-insertion type catalyst. 1,3-dioxolan-4-one was also copolymerised with ε- caprolactone and β-butyrolactone to produce copolymers with various compositions. The formation of poly(lactic acid) and poly(mandelic acid) from 5-methyl-1,3-dioxolan- 4-one and 5-phenyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-one was investigated. Poly(lactic acid) and poly(mandelic acid) were synthesised with either isotactic or atactic tacticities. Molecular weights were found to be lower than the expected values. A variety of MeAl(salen) catalysts were explored for the polymerisation of 5-methyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-one and catalysts ligated with tertiary-butyl substituted salens were found to have higher rates of polymerisation and reached high conversions. Altering the diimine bridge in the ligand led to variations in rates of polymerisation and molecular weights. The cause of the decrease in molecular weight was found to be caused by a side reaction. The side reaction was bypassed by polymerising 2,2,5- trimethyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-one and 2,2-dimethyl-5-phenyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-one to form poly(lactic acid) and poly(mandelic acid), respectively, with the expulsion of acetone. The scope of 1,3-dioxolan-4-ones capable of being polymerised to form poly(α-hydroxy acid)s was expanded to include iso-propyl, cyclohexyl, normal-butyl, iso-butyl, propargyl, chloromethyl and benzyloxymethyl substituents at the five position. The glass transition temperatures accessible from this synthetic route was expanded (22-105 °C). Kinetic experiments revealed the impact of the substituents steric bulk on the rate of polymerisation and points toward a coordination-insertion mechanism. Poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) was copolymerised with 5-propargyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-one to incorporate alkynyl functionality and hence Raman spectroscopy showed the polymer had a distinct peak at 2128 cm-1. Following post-polymerisation modification of poly(lactic acid-co-3-chloro-2-hydroxypropanoic acid) copolymers, acrylate functionalised polymers were produced. The copolymers were shown to be capable of crosslinking poly(α-hydroxy acid) and poly(methyl methacrylate).