Metal-free, Scalable Carbon Dioxide Copolymer Catalyst with Unprecedented Polymerization Efficiency

Recently, a class of metal-free catalysts with high heat resistance and unprecedented catalytic efficiency have been reported by Guangpeng Wu, a member of SIEPM team at Zhejiang University. These catalysts are simple and efficient, requiring only two steps of reaction, and can be prepared at kilogram level with a yield of nearly 100% in the laboratory. The catalyst can withstand the high temperature reaction of 150 degrees. The fixation rate of carbon dioxide in the polymerization reaction and the product selectivity of the polymer reached more than 99%.The catalytic efficiency can reach 5 kg of polymer (PCHC)/ g catalyst, which is the highest value of all metal and metal-free homogeneous catalytic systems reported at present. The catalyst is non-toxic, easy to store and use, and does not cause dyeing problems in the polymerization production and later processing of the material. The author through the crystal structure of the catalysts, the contrast experiment, boron nuclear magnetic spectra, polymerization kinetics and the depth of density functional theory simulation analysis, this paper proposes a new polymerization mechanism, namely: the trigger anion dynamically through the intramolecular lewis acid boron center and ammonium salt cations between polymer chains quickly inserted alternately epoxy alkane and CO2 molecules, thus ensure the efficient chain polymerization.

This highly active organic catalytic system has been positively evaluated by reviewers.

Reviewer 1:“Wu’s catalyst is extremely simple and the activity achieved (5.0 kg/g) may astonish the researchers in this field.”

Reviewer 2:“These results would contribute to further development of catalysts as well as industrial production of CO2-derived polycarbonates, and thus be very informative to a broad range of readers.”  

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