DEVELOPMENT AND MECHANISTIC STUDIES OF THE CHROMIUM TETRAMETHYLTETRAAZAANNULENE CATALYST SYSTEM FOR THE COPOLYMERIZATION OF CARBON DIOXIDE AND EPOXIDES
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A prominent goal of scientists is to develop products and processes to meet the ever-growing needs of society. Today's needs include products that are economical, specialized, and made through processes with minimal impact on the environment. One such product that serves an important and widespread need is poly(bisphenol A carbonate) for its physical properties and ease of synthesis and processing. However, this polymer does not meet the growing need of being environmentally benign as production involves carcinogenic, chlorinated solvents and toxic monomers that can leach out from the polymer product. An answer to this new demand is the development of a different process for the production of polycarbonate plastics utilizing carbon dioxide and epoxides. Carbon dioxide is an attractive monomer that is cheap and nontoxic, and its utilization signifies an important contribution to counteract global greenhouse emissions. The stability of carbon dioxide has posed a significant and complex challenge towards its utilization. Epoxides are attractive since they are synthesized from a wide variety of olefins, both naturally occurring and those derived from petroleum. The exploration of catalysts to facilitate the coupling of epoxides to carbon dioxide to afford polycarbonates has been under investigation in the Darensbourg lab for fifteen years, and has lead to the development of several successful systems such as zinc bisphenoxides and chromium salens. This dissertation focuses on the development of another successful catalyst system, chromium tetramethyltetraazaannulene, and further elucidation of the mechanism by which polycarbonates are formed. Herein, aspects of the copolymerization process using this system will be discussed in detail, such as cocatalyst and pressure dependence, catalyst derivatization, and kinetic and mechanistic investigations. The end result of these investigations is the development of the most active chromium-based catalyst for the copolymerization of cyclohexene oxide and carbon dioxide and a better understanding of how the copolymer product is produced.
Fitch, Shawn (2009). DEVELOPMENT AND MECHANISTIC STUDIES OF THE CHROMIUM TETRAMETHYLTETRAAZAANNULENE CATALYST SYSTEM FOR THE COPOLYMERIZATION OF CARBON DIOXIDE AND EPOXIDES. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from