On February 25, 2018, the latest research of Professor Xie Xiaolin’s group was published on Angewandte Chemie. The paper, which was first authored by post-doctoral researcher Wang Yong and corresponding authored by Prof. Xie Xiaolin (HUST) and Prof. Wang Xianhong (CIAC), is titled as “A One-Step Route to CO2-based Block Copolymers by Simultaneous ROCOP of CO2/Epoxides and RAFT Polymerization of Vinyl Monomers”.
The petroleum resourced polymers have provided more convenience for the survival and development of humans than ever before. However, great concerns are arising owing to the depletion of the fossil fuel stock and the “white pollution” caused by overuse of non-degradable plastics, making it imperative to develop renewable and biodegradable polymers. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is generally regarded as one of the main sources responsible for global warming, but it is also a low-cost and renewable C1 feedstock.
The ring-opening copolymerization (ROCOP) between CO2 and epoxides has gained intense attentions, as it offers a sustainable and environmental benign approach to biodegradable polycarbonates. Such CO2-based polycarbonates, fixing up to 40 % by weight in the main chains, can be completely converted to CO2 and water in the presence of microorganisms. In this regard, CO2-based polycarbonates “come from the air and go back to the air”.
To address their drawbacks such as weak intermolecular interactions, poor mechanical/thermal properties and limited functionalities, Professor Xie’s group has successfully synthesized CO2-based block copolymers with various functionalities via simultaneous ROCOP and living radical polymerization mediated by a trithiocarbonate/carboxy bifunctional chain transfer agent. This protocol has provided the unique opportunities to enhance the properties of CO2-based polycarbonates at molecular scale as well as to cut costs of biodegradable polymeric materials.
This research has been financially supported by NSFC (No.21604027) and National Key R&D Plan (No.2016YFB0302400)
Link to the dissertation: