Organic Chemistry Seminar, Dr. Eugene Chen (Colorado State University)

Sep 11, 2017 at - | Carol Hoff Lynch Lecture Hall Chemistry Complex

Title : Metal- and Organocatalyzed Synthesis of Recyclable Polymers for a Circular Materials Economy


Abstract: The current practices in the generation and disposal of synthetic polymers are largely unsustainable. Several solutions have been intensively pursued to address this global challenge but the current solutions suffer from either significant materials value and quality losses or unintended environmental consequences. A proposed more sustainable solution is to develop chemically recyclable polymers that can not only solve the end-of-life issue of polymers but also provide a direct approach to establish a circular materials economy. However, a key challenge here is that polymers that can be depolymerized back to the building block monomers in high yield and selectivity are still rare, and polymers that are easily degradable or depolymerizable usually do not have the physical integrity and mechanical strength to be practically useful. In this context, this presentation will describe our recent and on-going efforts in the design and synthesis of next-generation sustainable polymers that not only exhibit robust physical and mechanical properties but can also be thermally and/or chemically depolymerized back to their monomers in quantitative yield and high purity, ready for reuse.   To realize such degradable and recyclable polymers, the development of new polymerization methods or processes mediated by metal and/or organic catalysts is often required. To this end, this presentation will also describe our efforts to develop the metal-mediated precision (living, chemoselective, and stereoselective) polymerization method for polymerizing multifunctional monomers as well as new organocatalytic polymerization reactions that can afford degradable polymers unobtainable by metal-mediated polymerization reactions.


Inquires contact Rosa M. Vargas rvargas@sas.upenn.edu