American Chemical Society
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Polycarbonates Derived from Glucose via an Organocatalytic Approach

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posted on 2016-02-19, 09:34 authored by Koichiro Mikami, Alexander T. Lonnecker, Tiffany P. Gustafson, Nathanael F. Zinnel, Pei-Jing Pai, David H. Russell, Karen L. Wooley
An organocatalyzed ring-opening polymerization methodology was developed for the preparation of polycarbonates derived from glucose as a natural product starting material. The cyclic 4,6-carbonate monomer of glucose having the 1, 2, and 3 positions methyl-protected was prepared in three steps from a commercially available glucose derivative, and the structure was confirmed by means of NMR and IR spectroscopies, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (MS), and single-crystal X-ray analysis. Polymerization of the monomer, initiated by 4-methylbenzyl alcohol in the presence of 1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]­dec-5-ene as the organocatalyst, proceeded effectively in a controlled fashion to afford the polycarbonate with a tunable degree of polymerization, narrow molecular weight distribution, and well-defined end groups, as confirmed by a combination of NMR spectroscopy, gel-permeation chromatography, and MALDI-TOF MS. A distribution of head-to-head, head-to-tail, and tail-to-tail regiochemistries was determined by NMR spectroscopy and tandem MS analysis by electron transfer dissociation. These polycarbonates are of interest as engineering materials because of their origination from renewable resources combined with their amorphous character and relatively high glass transition temperatures as determined by X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry studies.