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Pure and Applied Chemistry

The Scientific Journal of IUPAC

Ed. by Burrows, Hugh / Weir, Ron / Stohner, Jürgen


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Cyclic carbonates as monomers for phosgene- and isocyanate-free polyurethanes and polycarbonates

Sang-Hyun Pyo1 / Per Persson2 / M. Amin Mollaahmad1 / Kent Sörensen2 / Stefan Lundmark2 / Rajni Hatti-Kaul1

1Department of Biotechnology, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Box 124, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

2Perstorp AB, 284 80 Perstorp, Sweden

Citation Information: Pure and Applied Chemistry. Volume 84, Issue 3, Pages 637–661, ISSN (Online) 1365-3075, ISSN (Print) 0033-4545, DOI: 10.1351/PAC-CON-11-06-14, October 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-10-21

Polyurethanes and polycarbonates are widely used in a variety of applications including engineering, optical devices, and high-performance adhesives and coatings, etc., and are expected to find use also in the biomedical field owing to their biocompatibility and low toxicity. However, these polymers are currently produced using hazardous phosgene and isocyanates, which are derived from the reaction between an amine and phosgene. Extensive safety procedures are required to prevent exposure to phosgene and isocyanate because of its high toxicity. Therefore, the demand for the production of isocyanate-free polymers has now emerged. Among the alternative greener routes that have been proposed, a popular way is the ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of cyclic carbonate in bulk or solution, usually using metallic catalyst, metal-free initiator, or biocatalyst. This review presents the recent developments in the preparation and application of cyclic carbonates as monomers for ROP, with emphasis on phosgene- and isocyanate-free polymerization to produce aliphatic polycarbonates and polyurethanes and their copolymers.

Keywords: aliphatic polyurethanes and polycarbonates; biocatalysis; biotechnology; cyclic carbonates; green chemistry; phosgene- and isocyanate-free polymerization; polymers; ring-opening polymerization; ring-opening reactions

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