Controlled lactide polymerisation in supercritical carbon dioxide with organo-catalyst

Researchers from Australia and the UK have developed a truly ‘green’ process for the synthesis of polylactic acid in the absence of toxic solvents and catalysts.

The team led by Idriss Blakely (The University of Queensland, Australia) and Steven Howdle (University of Nottingham, UK) have developed an approach where polylactide can be synthesised in a controlled manner in supercritical CO2 using 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) as an organo-catalyst.  This new method, unlike others before it, does not require the use of organic solvents or metal catalysts, and is conducted at much lower temperatures than for bulk polymerisation of lactic acid.

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Controlled polymerisation of lactide using an organo-catalyst in supercritical carbon dioxide, Idriss Blakey, Anguang Yu, Steven M. Howdle, Andrew K. Whittaker and Kristofer J. Thurecht, Green Chem., 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C1GC15344G

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