Researchers Use Organocatalyst to Stereocontrol Polymerization

Researchers Use Organocatalyst to Stereocontrol Polymerization

Researchers developed a method to stereocontrol polymerization using organocatalyst, according to a report published on March 29, 2019.

This method was developed by the researchers from the University of North Carolina. Polymers are substances with a molecular structure made up of like units bound together. In this study, researchers tried to create a polymer that would have more adherence, which could then be used as a coating material.

Researchers noted that polyethylene and polypropylene do not adhere well, as they are made of hydrogen and carbon. These polyolefins need oxygen to become adhesive. Previous researches have showed that poly(vinyl ethers) (PVEs) can be made using free radical polymerization, however, the results lack stereochemistry. This led to the discovery of the new method that would allow catalyst control when making PVEs.

An asymmetric phosphoric acid combined with a Lewis acid (titanium) was used by the researchers in the new method to force the monomer into a desired orientation during ionic polymerization. They could exert complete control over the resulting stereochemistry by using the organocatalyst. The polymer was semi-crystalline and from the tests conducted by the researchers, it was found to be both strong mechanically (comparable to polyethylene) and highly adhesive.

According to the researchers, the new approach could lead to the development of both adhesive coatings and medical devices. They also note that the new approach is scalable and amenable to various types of processing such as melting, molding, and coloring. Moreover, the same concept can be transferred to other types of polymerization systems.

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