[en] [Tris(hexamethyldisilyl)amide] yttrium is a catalyst for the controlled ring-opening polymerization of epsilon-caprolactone when reacted with an excess of alcohol. Up to an alcohol-to-yttrium molar ratio of 50, the chain transfer to the alcohol is quantitative, and the molecular weight of the chains can be predicted from the monomer-to-alcohol molar ratio. At alcohol-to-yttrium ratios higher than 100, the alcohol is quantitatively consumed provided that 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexamethyldisilazane, which is formed as a byproduct, is removed from the reation medium. Depending on the structure of the alcohol, end-functional polyesters can be prepared (e.g., with N-pyrrolyl and 3-thienyl end groups). Well-defined block and random copolymers of epsilon-CL with lactides and gamma-bromo-epsilon-caprolactone, respectively, have also been synthesized. Compared to aluminum alkoxides, the in situ formed yttrium alkoxides have the advantage of a much faster polymerization kinetics while preserving control.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
Omnichem, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy