Designing Thermally Stable Organocatalysts for Poly(ethylene terephthalate) Synthesis: Toward a One-Pot, Closed-Loop Chemical Recycling System for PET

Shu Kaiho, Ali Al Rida Hmayed, Kayla Delle Chiaie, Josh Worch, Andrew Dove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Organocatalysis provides robust methodology to furnish “greener” routes to polymer synthesis. However, the application toward the synthesis of aromatic polymers via step-growth polymerization is an area that justifies more investigation, as a consequence of the poor thermal stability of many organic catalysts and the high reaction temperatures commonly required. In this study, thermally stable organic salts consisting of an organic base and an organic acid were explored to understand key elements required for the bulk synthesis of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) at 270 °C. The ΔpKa values of the salts played an important role in the thermal stability such that the salts with higher ΔpKa values showed higher stability because of the strong acid–base interactions. The 1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-ene (TBD) salts with high ΔpKa values (≥16.9) showed the best catalytic activity among the investigated salts in terms of both low amounts of side reactions and discoloration. The thermal and chemical stability of the salts also affected the polymer properties. Dimerization side reactions that lead to defects in the polymer backbone were found to occur more readily in salts containing strong acids as components, particularly as the ΔpKa between the acid–base components decreased. The discoloration of the PET sample was also correlated to the thermal stability of the organic salt catalyst, with a lower stability generally leading to enhanced discoloration likely due to decomposition of base components. Polymerization–depolymerization cycles were also investigated with the TBD:p-toluenesulfonic acid (TSA) salt and the feasibility of simple, closed-loop recycling of PET with the system was established.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalMacromolecules
Volume2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Organocatalysis
  • poly(ethylene terephthalate)
  • organic salts

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Designing Thermally Stable Organocatalysts for Poly(ethylene terephthalate) Synthesis: Toward a One-Pot, Closed-Loop Chemical Recycling System for PET'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this