Due to the growing concern about the environmental footprint of plastics, one of the key trends in modern polymer science is the development of materials that not only possess useful properties but also have inherent (bio)degradability and/or are derived from renewable resources. Among the limited choice of engineering polymers with degradable backbone, aliphatic polyesters are of particular interest. However, the major drawback of conventional aliphatic polyesters is the lack of functional groups along the polymer backbone, which limits the expansion of their applications. The introduction of functional groups into the structure of aliphatic polyesters would allow them to be used as substitutes for various conventional non-degradable polymers.
The invention provides a synthetic process for the preparation of disubstituted caprolactone monomers bearing electron withdrawing groups (cyano, ester, amide) from bio-derived chemicals, and a polymerization process for such prepared disubstituted caprolactones to produce the functionalized aliphatic polyesters.
The approach enables the preparation of biobased and degradable alternatives to the non-degradable polyacrylonitrile, polyacrylate and polyacrylamide polymers.
Fields of use: Advanced Materials, Biobased and Degradable Polymers
Technology Readiness Level: TRL3
Intellectual property: Patent pending
Partner sought: R&D collaboration to further develop the technology, licensing or sell of IP rights.
Next steps needed: Testing in an industrial environment, scale-up.