S31 Scalable production of mechanically tunable block polymers from sugar
Monday, July 21, 2014: 2:00 PM
Regency Ballroom D, Second Floor (St. Louis Hyatt Regency at the Arch)
Kechun Zhang, Dept. Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Development of sustainable and biodegradable materials is essential for future growth of the chemical industry. For a renewable product to be commercially competitive, it must be economically viable on an industrial scale and possess properties akin or superior to existing petroleum-derived analogs. Few biobased polymers have met this formidable challenge. To address this challenge, we develop an efficient bio-based route to the branched lactone, β-methyl-δ-valerolactone (βMδVL), which can be transformed into a rubbery (i.e., low glass transition temperature) polymer. We further demonstrate that block copolymerization of βMδVL and lactide (LA) leads to a new class of high performance polyesters with tunable mechanical properties. This comprehensive strategy offers an economically viable approach to sustainable plastics and elastomers for a broad range of applications.