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This communication describes a novel series of linear and crosslinked polyurethanes (PUs) and their selective depolymerization under mild conditions. Two unique polyols are synthesized bearing unsaturated units in a configuration designed to favor ring-closing metathesis (RCM) to five- and six-membered cycloalkenes. These polyols are co-polymerized with toluene diisocyanate to generate linear PUs and trifunctional hexamethylene- and diphenylmethane-based isocyanates to generate crosslinked PUs. The polyol design is such that the RCM reaction cleaves the backbone of the polymer chain. Upon exposure to dilute solutions of Grubbs' catalyst under ambient conditions, the PUs are rapidly depolymerized to low molecular weight, soluble products bearing vinyl and cycloalkene functionalities. These functionalities enable further re-polymerization by traditional strategies for polymerization of double bonds. It is anticipated that this general approach can be expanded to develop a range of chemically recyclable condensation polymers that are readily depolymerized by orthogonal metathesis chemistry. © 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


Brad H Jones, Chad Staiger, Jackson Powers, Jeremy A Herman, Jessica Román-Kustas. Selectively Depolymerizable Polyurethanes from Unsaturated Polyols Cleavable by Olefin Metathesis. Macromolecular rapid communications. 2021 Feb;42(4):e2000571

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PMID: 33300207

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