Design, synthesis, and optimization of recoverable and recyclable silica-immobilized atom transfer radical polymerization catalysts
Nguyen, Joseph Vu
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Despite the growing interest in heterogeneous polymerization catalysis, the majority of the polymerization catalysts used industrially are single-use entities that are left in the polymer product. Recoverable and recyclable polymerization catalysts have not reached the industrial utility of single-use catalysts because the catalyst and product separation have not become economical. The successful development of recyclable transition metal polymerization catalysts must take a rational design approach, hence academic and industrial researchers need to further expand the fundamental science and engineering of recyclable polymerization catalysis to gain an understanding of critical parameters that allow for the design of economically viable, recoverable solid polymerization catalysts. Unfortunately, the rapid development of Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization over the past 10 years has not resulted in its wide spread industrial practice. Numerous reports regarding the immobilization of transition metal ATRP catalysts, in attempts to increase its applicability, have extended the fundamentals of recyclable polymerization catalysis. However, for industrial viability, more research is required in the area of how the catalyst complex immobilization methodology and support structure affect the catalyst polymerization performance, regeneration, and recyclability. A comprehensive rational catalyst design approach of silica-immobilized ATRP catalyst was undertaken to answer these questions and are discussed here.