Bio Based Polymer Synthesis from Sugar (20140196, Dr. Marc Hillmyer)

Technology No. 20140196

Flexible Polymer from Renewable Resources

A method of creating a scalable block copolymer from a new branched lactone monomer has been developed. The new lactone monomer is generated from direct fermentation of sugar.  The biobased monomer, when copolymerized with lactide, has many utilities and its mechanical properties (i.e. stretchiness, strength) can be tuned depending on the application requirements. Sugar (glucose) is one of nature‚Äôs simplest and most common organic compounds, and the resultant polymers from this new process are biodegradable, affordable, and available for mass-production. Applications of these polymers are disposable materials, thermoplastics, and sustainable plastic components.

Bio Based Products in High Demand

Biobased products (those products completely or mostly comprised of renewable materials) are experiencing a huge jump in demand as our world steers toward renewable resources. However, biobased products are often difficult and expensive to produce on a mass scale. This leads to an economic inviability that hinders market penetration of plant-based materials, organic fuels, etc.


  • Bio based starting materials
  • Preparation of block copolymers with tunable thermal and mechanical properties
  • Polymers have properties ranging from tough plastics to soft elastomers
  • Cost and properties are competitive with commercial petro-polymers such as styrenic block polymers

Phase of Development Proof of Concept

Marc Hillmyer, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry
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Frank Bates, PhD
Regents Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
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Kechun Zhang, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
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