The biodegradability and when functionalised biocompatibility of aliphatic polycarbonates (APCs) makes them an attractive class of materials for biomedical applications such as tissue engineering scaffolds and drug-delivery carriers. One route to accessing a wide-range of well-defined and functional APCs is the controlled ring-opening polymerisation (ROP) of cyclic carbonates. In turn, these would ideally be prepared by the direct coupling of CO2 with diols to give water as the only by-product. In this way, the combination of CO2 and sugar-derived diols draws upon two natural renewable building blocks for the construction of polycarbonates that are anticipated to show good biocompatibility properties. Chapter 2 develops a simple and mild alternative to the traditional use of phosgene derivatives for the synthesis of six-membered cyclic carbonates from 1,3-diols and CO2. DFT calculations highlighted the need to lower both the CO2-insertion and ring-closing kinetic barriers to cyclic carbonate formation. Organic superbase, 1,8- diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) enabled the formation of carbonate species at 1 atm CO2 pressure whereas, the introduction of a leaving group strategy lowered the cyclisation barrier. Mechanistic considerations suggested a kinetic preference for ring- closing via a nucleophilic addition-elimination pathway rather than a SN2-like intramolecular cyclisation. Chapter 3 applies the procedure with CO2 to the preparation of a novel monomer from natural sugar, ᴅ-mannose. ROP was carried out via an organocatalytic approach and a preference for head-tail linkages in the polycarbonate backbone indicated by NMR spectroscopy and supported by DFT calculations. Chapter 4 utilises CO2 to invert the natural stereochemistry of sugars and create a thymidine-based monomer. The thermodynamic parameters of the ROP with 1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-ene (TBD) catalyst are determined and the properties of the polycarbonates investigated to include preliminary cell attachment studies. Finally, chapter 5 details the synthesis of cyclic carbonates from 2- deoxy-ᴅ-ribose and the investigation into the different ROP behaviour of the α- and β- anomers. The ability to tune the polymer properties through copolymerisation with trimethylene carbonate (TMC) is also discussed.
|Date of Award||27 Jun 2017|
|Sponsors||Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council|
|Supervisor||Antoine Buchard (Supervisor), Ram Sharma (Supervisor) & Matthew Davidson (Supervisor)|
- cyclic carbonates
- ring-opening polymerisation
- biomedical applications
- Tissue engineering scaffolds