Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 4:10 PM
Federal Room B (Capital Hilton)

Novel Biomimitic Catalysts for Green Polymerization in Water

Kei Saito, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

One of the critical factors in realizing a green chemical reaction process involves the choice of water, one of the greenest solvent, as the reaction solvent. Poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO), an important engineering plastic for electric household and automotive parts, has been produced by the oxidative polymerization of 2,6-dimethylphenol. This polymerization proceeds at room temperature, and it is an ideal atom economical reaction that does not require any leaving groups for producing the polymer. However, the polymerization is carried out using an organic solvent like toluene and benzene under oxygen. Therefore, both a solvent recovery process and an anti-explosive reactor are needed for industrial production. The use of water as the solvent for the oxidative polymerization to form PPO is the desired approach from a green chemical process. On the other hand, nature provides a molecular weight controlled and regioselected polymer under air at room temperature in water using an enzymatic polymerization. We believe using water is the key not only for the green chemical process but also to controll the polymerization. From a green chemistry approach, we investigated a novel controlled polymerization to form PPO in water with a biomimic catalyst.

Web Page: www.chem.monash.edu.au/green-chem/