Xylose-Based Polyethers and Polyesters Via ADMET Polymerization toward Polyethylene-Like Materials: ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Marco Piccini, Jasmine Lightfoot, Bernardo Castro Dominguez, Antoine Buchard

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One of the challenges of developing bioderived polymers is to obtain materials with competitive properties. This study investigates the structure-properties relationships of polyesters and polyethers that can be derived from d-xylose through metathesis polymerization, in order to produce bioderived plastic materials that are sourced from sustainable feedstocks and whose properties can compete with those of polyolefins such as polyethylene. Bicyclic diol 1,2-O-isopropylidene-α-d-xylofuranose was coupled with ω-unsaturated fatty acids and alcohols of different chain lengths (C11, C5, C3), and the resulting α,ω-unsaturated esters and ethers polymerized via an acyclic diene metathesis (ADMET) polymerization using a commercial Grubbs second-generation catalyst, obtaining polymers with Mn up to 63.0 kg mol–1. Glass transition temperatures (Tg) decreased linearly with increasing chain length and were lower for polyethers (−32 to 14 °C) compared to polyesters (−14 to 45 °C). ADMET polymers could be modified postpolymerization by reacting their internal carbon–carbon double bonds. Thiol–ene reaction with methyl thioglycolate lowered the Tg while allowing insertion of additional functional groups. Alkene hydrogenation turned the polyester and polyether with C20 hydrocarbon linkers into semicrystalline polymers with Tm ≈ 50 °C. The latter, when cast into films, displayed remarkable polyethylene-like properties. Hot-pressed films proved ductile materials (Young modulus Ey 60–110 MPa, elongation at break εb 670–1000%, ultimate tensile strength σb 8–10 MPa), while uniaxially oriented films proved very strong yet flexible materials (Ey 190–200 MPa, εb 160–350%, σb 43–66 MPa). Gas barrier properties were comparable to those of commercial polyolefins. Polyethers were resistant to hydrolysis, while polyesters depolymerized under alkaline conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5870–5881
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

doi: 10.1021/acsapm.1c01095


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