Journal: Inorganic Chemistry
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Catalysing change in plastic production
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A zinc-based catalyst could be used to produce biodegradable polymers for a range of new applications.
Polyesters such as polylactic acid and polycaprolactone, which are biodegraded by various microorganisms, are being developed for uses ranging from biomedical applications to packaging. However, as attention grows on the problems non-biodegradable plastics can cause in the environment, a broader range of biodegradable polymers is sought.
One method for making new types of polyester is to combine epoxide and cyclic anhydride starting materials, in a reaction known as ring-opening copolymerization (ROCOP).
Now, researchers at Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology have shown that a zinc-based complex can be an effective ROCOP catalyst.
By tuning the reaction conditions, the team could use the zinc complex to selectively produce low-molecular-weight cyclic polyesters, potentially leading to the development of new biodegradable polyesters with novel properties and applications.
- Inorganic Chemistry 59, 8983–8994 (2020). doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c00839
|Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Thailand||0.75|
|Thammasat University, Thailand||0.17|
|Research Network of NANOTEC (RNN), VISTEC, Thailand||0.08|