Stereochemistry In Sustainable Polymers

Sustainable Polymers

There are two main ways to goals encapsulated within the movement of sustainable polymers

  1. New competitive plastics from renewable biomass.

  2. Reduced persistence of plastics through enhanced biodegradability.

An opportunistic attribute of many biomass-based precursors is their inherent chirality seeded from the chirality of biochemistry.  Stereochemistry has an important part of structure-property relationships since the inception of polymer science. Thus, our research aims to understand how the stereochemistry of various bio-derived monomers affects or enhances the resulting properties of the polymer.

Isosorbide vs Isomannide


Isosorbide (IS) and isomannide (IM) are rigid chiral isomers derived from the natural sugars, glucose and fructose. These compounds are identical with the exception of one stereogenic center bearing an exo or endo alcohol functionality. Therefore, these platform chemicals are uniquely suited to study stereochemistry effects in polymer properties. 

Success in our group has harnessed new strategies for utilizing these precursors to develop new plastics. The image to the right is a new type of polyurethane comprised of 90% (w/w/) biobased material.