Plastic materials are an integral part of modern life; however, nearly every plastic, or polymer, is derived from petroleum resources, which are non-sustainable, non-degradable, and can be toxic to humans and the environment. Developing methodologies to synthesize and characterize alternative materials that are degradable, safe, and sustainable has therefore been a vibrant research area. This thesis describes two approaches towards the development of sustainable polymers and monomers (the building blocks from which polymers are made). The first aims to understand the fundamental mechanistic details of metal-catalyzed ring-opening polymerization of renewable cyclic ester monomers to degradable polyesters. The second targets the catalytic synthesis of common petroleum-based monomers from sustainable and biomass-derived carboxylic acids.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Chemistry. Advisors: William Tolman, Marc Hillmyer. 1 computer file (PDF); xviii, 227 pages.
Polymerization Kinetics of Cyclic Esters by Metal Alkoxide Complexes and Catalytic Decarbonylation of Bio-Derived Carboxylic Acids to Commodity Alkenes.
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