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Comment Processing & Handling

A new class of polymers that utilize CO2

By Tetsuo Satoh |

A new plastic made from CO2 and butadiene has been synthesized by Kyoko Nozaki and her research group at the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan; www.chembio.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/labs/nozaki). Although butadiene is already produced on a large scale for making synthetic rubber, it has previously been impossible to copolymerize CO2 and butadiene in a single-step reaction, because the propagation step with CO2 is highly endothermic. To “make the impossible possible,” the researchers avoided the thermodynamic and kinetic barriers by using a meta-stable lactone intermediate, 3-ethylidene-6-vinyltetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-one, which is formed by the palladium-catalyzed condensation of CO2 and 1,3-butadiene. Subsequent free-radical polymerization of the lactone intermediate produces generated copolymers of high molecular weight with a CO2 content of 33 mol% (29 wt.%). No poisonous gases are released upon ignition. The new polymer maintains its integrity at high temperature (maximum decomposition temperature of 340°C), making it suitable for melt molding, products such as housings, films and other general-purpose applications. The process was also successfully applied for the one-pot terpolymerization of CO2, butadiene and a second 1,3-diene.…
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