Abstract: In this presentation I will discuss our efforts on the design and development of new high performance aliphatic polyester copolymers. I will highlight research that was supported by the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Polymers and will describe how our work fits into the Sustainable Polymer Framework developed within the CSP. Biobased origins of the monomers, green polymerization techniques, property evaluation, and end-of-life solutions are all facets of this integrated research program.
The principal polymerization technique that will be discussed is ring-opening transesterification polymerization of various cyclic esters that can be derived from biomass resources. New monomer design and new copolymerization strategies have been developed that allow for the precision synthesis of not only block copolymers for thermoplastic elastomers, but also segmented polyurethanes, graft copolymers and star copolymers containing aliphatic polyesters that each benefit from certain performance advantages. From an end-of-life perspective, I will discuss hydrolytic degradation, chemical recycling, and composting of these materials.