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Biodegradable Polyester Produced From Non-toxic, Renewable Monomer

Technology #z05135

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Applications for Poly(3-HP)Ring opening polymerization path of 3-HPPrior methods for creating Poly(3-HP)
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Researchers
Dr. Marc Hillmyer
Dr. Hillmyer's Research Group focuses research on the design, synthesis, and characterization of new polymeric materials. In addition to the development of specific structure-property relationships in these novel materials, his group also strives to discover new and technologically important applications. His group emphasizes the use of modern polymer synthesis techniques that include a variety of controlled polymerizations and selective polymer modifications.
External Link (www.chem.umn.edu)
Dr. William Tolman
Dr. Tolman's research encompasses synthetic bioinorganic and organometallic/polymer chemistry. In the bioinorganic area, his group?s objective is to gain a fundamental structural, spectroscopic, and mechanistic understanding of metalloprotein active sites of biological and environmental importance via the synthesis, characterization, and examination of the reactivity of model complexes. The current goal of the group?s research in the organometallic/polymer area is to synthesize and characterize a variety of metal complexes for use as catalysts for the polymerization of cyclic esters.
External Link (www.chem.umn.edu)
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Eric Hockert
Technology Marketing Manager 612-624-9568
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending 7714097
Publications
A New Synthetic Route to Poly[3-hydroxypropionic acid] (P[3-HP]):  Ring-Opening Polymerization of 3-HP Macrocyclic Esters
Macromolecules, October 7, 2004, pp. 8198-8200

Biodegradable Polyester has Higher Molecular Weight

A method has been developed to produce a biodegradable polyester known as poly(3-hydroxypropionic acid). The method combines the high-molecular weight and control aspects of ring-opening polymerization with the commercial availability of the beta hydroxy acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid which is abbreviated as 3-HP. Since 3-HP can be derived from biological sources, the resulting material, poly(3-hydroxypropionic acid) or P(3-HP), is biorenewable. The new method allows direct synthesis of the bio-based polymer P(3-HP) from 3-HP, a commercial monomer that is derived from corn. The method uses a single vessel reactor for simple synthesis and rapid scale up. The method results in a higher molecular weight which makes the polymer more structurally sound using a process with lower toxicity than competing technologies.

The market for a bio-based and biodegradable replacement for polyester is expected to grow rapidly during the next five years. The bio-based polyester, P(3-HP), has attractive mechanical properties, such as rigidity, ductility, and exceptional tensile strength in drawn films and can be created using the new lower toxicity method. On account of these properties, P(3-HP) has applications in packaging or biodegradable plastics.

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FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF METHOD TO PRODUCE P(3-HP)

  • Allows direct synthesis of a biodegradable, bio-based polymer, poly (3-hydroxypropionic acid) from 3-hydroxypropionic acid, which can be derived from corn and is commercially available
  • Uses a single vessel reactor that can be used for simple synthesis and rapid scale up
  • Results in a higher molecular weight using a process lower in toxicity than competing technologies