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REPORT:From Precision and Catalytic Polymer Syntheses to Supramolecular Nanocrystal Stereocomplexes and Recyclable Sustainable Polymers
Sep 05, 2016

Topic:From Precision and Catalytic Polymer Syntheses to Supramolecular Nanocrystal Stereocomplexes and Recyclable Sustainable Polymers
Speaker:Prof. Eugene Y.-X. Chen
              Department of Chemistry, The Center for Sustainable Monomers and Polymers
              Colorado State University
Time:2016/9/7(Wednesday) 3:30pm
Living polymerization methods are common nowadays, but a precision polymer synthesis method that is not only living but also chemoselective and stereoselective is rare. Such an advanced precision polymer synthesis method is especially desirable for many polar vinyl monomers, as it can simultaneously control the polymer architecture, functionality, and microstructure during such polymer synthesis, thus producing novel polymer structures inaccessible by other methods. In this context, this presentation will describe our recent and on-going efforts to develop the precision (living, chemoselective, and stereoselective) polymerization method for polymerizing polar vinyl and multi-vinyl monomers and utilize this method to construct robust crosslinked supramolecular nanostructured stereocomplexes through self-assembling stereocomplexation between diastereomeric polymer chains carrying functional side chains.

The current industrial recycling of plastics is largely ineffective, which resulted in an environmentally disastrous scenario: ~31 and ~25 million tons of plastic trash get thrown into the Earth’s landfills and oceans each year, respectively. In a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 the ocean is expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight). The development of biodegradable polymers or plastics is part of the solution but not the ultimate solution, as no feedstock is recovered. An emerging frontier in tackling this global environmental issue is the design and synthesis of recyclable sustainable polymers that can be completely depolymerized back to their monomers thermally, mechanically, or chemically, the recovered building blocks of which can then be reused to produce virgin quality polymers. To this end, this lecture will present our recent efforts in developing truly sustainable polymers that are not only biorenewable and degradable but also recyclable and accessible via a greener process, thereby achieving the desired circular economy and also eliminating the plastic trash.

Bio Information:
He earned his Ph.D. degree from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1995, under the direction of Profs. James Chien (Polymer Science & Engineering) and late Marvin Rausch (Chemistry). After a postdoctoral stint at Northwestern University with Prof. Tobin J. Marks, he joined The Dow Chemical Company in late 1997, where he was promoted from Sr. Research Chemist to Project Leader. He moved to Colorado State University in August 2000, where he is Professor of chemistry, adjunct Professor of the College of Engineering, the Millennial Professor of Polymer Science and Sustainability, and the Director of the Center for sustainable monomers and polymers
Research Interests
polymer science, green & sustainable chemistry, renewable energy, and catalytic chemistry
Selected Honors and Awards
Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions, Dow Chemical;
Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation;
Excellence in Commercialization Award, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association;
Elected fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science;
The 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, Environmental Protection Agency and American Chemical Society.

Selected Publications
Publications in 2016
1.Vidal, F.; Falivene, L.; Caporaso, L.; Cavallo, L.;* Chen, E. Y.-X.* " Robust Crosslinked Stereocomplexes and C60 Inclusion Complexes of Vinyl-Functionalized Stereoregular Polymers Derived from Chemo/Stereoselective Coordination Polymerization", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b04064.
2. Gowda, R. R.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Organocatalytic and Chemoselective Polymerization of Multivinyl-Functionalized γ-Butyrolactones", ACS Macro Lett., 2016, 5, 772-776.
3. Chen, J.; Falivene, L.;* Caporaso, L.; Cavallo, L.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Selective Reduction of CO2 to CH4 by Tandem Hydrosilylation with Mixed Al/B Catalysts", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 5321-5333.
4. Hong, M.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Towards Truly Sustainable Polymers: Metal-Free Recyclable Polyester from Bio-renewable Non-Strained γ-Butyrolactone", Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 4188-4193. (designated Hot article)
5. Hong, M.; Tang, X.; Falivene, L.; Caporaso, L.; Cavallo, L.;* Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Proton-Transfer Polymerization by N-Heterocyclic Carbenes: Monomer and Catalyst Scopes and Mechanism for Converting Dimethacrylates into Unsaturated Polyesters", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 2021-2035.
6. Hong, M.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Completely Recyclable Biopolymers with Linear and Cyclic Topologies via Ring-Opening Polymerization of γ-Butyrolactone", Nat. Chem.  2016, 8, 42-49.
7. Mou, Z.; Feng, S.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Bio-based Difuranic Polyol Monomers and Their Derived Linear and Cross-linked Polyurethanes", Polym. Chem. , 2016, 7, 1593-1602.
8. Gowda, R. R.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Recyclable Earth-Abundant Metal Nanoparticle Catalysts for Selective Transfer Hydrogenation of Levulinic Acid to Produce γ-Valerolactone", ChemSusChem, 2016, 9, 181-185.
9. Chen, J.; Chen, E. Y.-X.* "Unsolvated Al(C6F5)3: Structural Features and Electronic Interaction with Ferrocene", Dalton Trans.  2016, 45, 6105-6110 (designed Hot article & invited contribution to the themed issue on the Main-Group Transformations).


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