Sustainable Polymer Synthesis
Polymers are ubiquitous in our daily life and are an essential part of various technologies. To cope with further challenges concerning the polymer production, such as greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution and waste generation, innovative solutions are aimed for in polymer research. To contribute to this, we focus on the use of renewable resources, the use of less hazardous reaction conditions during the synthesis, such as in the development of non-isocyanate polyurethanes, the use of catalysts, and the use of atom-economic multi-component reactions.
With polyurethanes representing an abundant polymer material with various applications e.g. in coatings, more sustainable synthesis routes without the need of hazardous phosgene and isocyanates are desirable. In our group, we investigate the access to non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPUs) by different approaches such as opening of cyclic carbonates or by rearrangement reactions. The resulting materials show promising properties for applications in polymer materials.
Working on this topic: Francesca Destaso, Nicollas Jaques, Anja Kirchberg, Federico Mundo, Luca Narducci, Clara Scheelje
Kirchberg, A.; Khabazian Esfahani, M.; Röpert, M.-C.; Wilhelm, M.; Meier, M. A. R. (2022). Sustainable Synthesis of Non‐Isocyanate Polyurethanes Based on Renewable 2,3‐Butanediol. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 223 (13), Art.-Nr.: 2200010. doi:10.1002/macp.202200010
Filippi, L.; Meier, M. A. R. (2021). Fully Renewable Non-Isocyanate Polyurethanes via the Lossen Rearrangement. Macromolecular rapid communications, 42 (3), Art.Nr. 2000440. doi:10.1002/marc.202000440
Earlier fundamental contributions
Llevot, A.; Meier, M. (2019). Perspective: green polyurethane synthesis for coating applications. Polymer international, 68 (5), 826–831. doi:10.1002/pi.5655
Kreye, O.; Mutlu, H.; Meier, M. A. R. (2013). Sustainable routes to polyurethane precursors. Green Chemistry, 15 (6), 1431–1455. doi:10.1039/c3gc40440d
The use of catalysts in chemical syntheses is of essential importance to develop more sustainable processes. As an example, small organic molecules can serve as homogeneous catalysts. In our group, we use thiourea catalysts obtained via a more sustainable synthesis approach to enable a selective functionalization of various materials. Also catalyst screening and optimization for specific tasks in the transformation of renewable substrate are performed.
Working on this topic: Federico Ferrari, Andreas Ganzbuhl, Anja Kirchberg, Roman Nickisch, Luis Santos Correa, Clara Scheelje
Nickisch, R.; Gabrielsen, S. M.; Meier, M. A. R. (2020). Novel Access to Known and Unknown Thiourea Catalyst via a Multicomponent-Reaction Approach. ChemistrySelect, 5 (38), 11915–11920. doi:10.1002/slct.202003336
Multi-Component Reactions in Polymer Synthesis
In a multi-component reaction (MCR), three or more starting materials react in a one-pot reaction to a single product, incorporating most of the atoms. Due to their advantage in experimental simplicity, typically high yields, and simple purification protocols compared to conventional multistep synthesis, MCRs can be considered as ideal reactions. This way, highly complex architectures are accessible in a single reaction step, making MCRs powerful tools in organic chemistry, especially in combinatorial chemistry and drug discovery, and recently also in polymer chemistry. In our group, we focus on isocyanide-based MCRs (Passerini and Ugi reaction) or the Biginelli reaction to modify biopolymers, such as cellulose and starch, to build up sequence defined macromolecules, or renewable polymers. Furthermore, the use of elemental sulfur in MCRs offers the possibility to sustainably produce sulfur-containing building blocks and polymers.
Working on this topic: Philipp Bohn, Roman Nickisch, Sandra Wegelin
Windbiel, J. T.; Meier, M. A. R. (2022). RAFT Polymerization of a Renewable Ricinoleic Acid-Derived Monomer and Subsequent Post-Polymerization Modification via the Biginelli-3-Component Reaction. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 223 (12), Art. Nr.: 2100360. doi:10.1002/macp.202100360
Nickisch, R.; Conen, P.; Meier, M. A. R. (2022). Polythiosemicarbazones by Condensation of Dithiosemicarbazides and Dialdehydes. Macromolecules, 55 (8), 3267–3275. doi:10.1021/acs.macromol.2c00409
Wolfs, J.; Nickisch, R.; Wanner, L.; Meier, M. A. R. (2021). Sustainable One-Pot Cellulose Dissolution and Derivatization via a Tandem Reaction in the DMSO/DBU/CO2 Switchable Solvent System. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 143 (44), 18693−18702. doi:10.1021/jacs.1c08783
Earlier fundamental contributions
Kreye, O.; Tóth, T.; Meier, M. A. R. (2011). Introducing Multicomponent Reactions to Polymer Science: Passerini Reactions of Renewable Monomers. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133 (6), 1790–1792. doi:10.1021/ja1113003