[en] Polylactones are important biodegradable and biocompatible environmentally friendly polyesters widely used for many applications and more particularly for biomedical applications. This review covers recent advances dealing with their synthesis by ring-opening polymerization (ROP). First, lactones polymerized by ROP will be reviewed with special attention paid to the effect of the ring size on polymerizability. Aliphatic polyesters synthesized by the ROP of lactones can also be obtained by polycondensation. The advantages of ROP compared with polycondensation will be highlighted. The second section is devoted to the different mechanisms used to carry out ROP, such as anionic, coordination, cationic, enzymatic, and organocatalytic polymerization. Special attention will be paid to the control imparted to the polymerization by the use of catalysts and initiators. The polymerization of lactones substituted by functional groups will be shown to afford functionalized aliphatic polyesters. The final section will focus on the synthesis of different architectures such as star-shaped, graft, hyperbranched, and macrocyclic polylactones in the frame of macromolecular engineering.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS