Creating more environmentally friendly, heat resistant and transparent plastics
Graphical abstract. Credit: Journal of the American Chemical Society (2022). DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c02569

A group of researchers in Japan have developed a new method. The discovery is expected to lead to the development of plastic that is heat resistant and transparent.

In the 1960s, Giulio Natta's group used a technique called asymmetric cationic polymerization to create new materials. The group was unable to control the weight. Many of the properties of the plastic are affected by the amount of themolecular weight. As they are tougher and more resistant to chemical and environmental damage, stiffener-flowing, highmolecular weight polymers are the best performers.

They combined two techniques to create asymmetric living cationic polymerization. There is a new technique that can control high optical activity. Their findings are reported in a journal.

There are various sources of monomers. To test their new technique, the group started with a substance called benzofuran, which can be derived from natural resources and is used in the production of polybenzofuran. There is a high glass transition temperature and high transparency. It is made from recycled materials. It has a high glass transition temperature that makes it hard to break. It's useful for the creation of transparent thermoplastics.

According to lecturer Uchiyama, the novel polymerization method could control both the chirality and themolecular weight of polybenzofuran. It is expected that this research will lead to the development of new functional polymers. Polybenzofuran has the properties of a highly heat resistant plastic and is expected to become a new material.

There are many uses for the compound. One of the main plastics used daily for various products, such as plastic containers, cases, and packaging, is polybenzofuran. Polybenzofuran has a higher glass transition temperature than polystyrene and is not used as a plastic. It looks like it is being used as a new plastic. It has unique optical properties that could provide additional functions.

More information: Mineto Uchiyama et al, Asymmetric Cationic Polymerization of Benzofuran through a Reversible Chain-Transfer Mechanism: Optically Active Polybenzofuran with Controlled Molecular Weights, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2022). DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c02569 Journal information: Journal of the American Chemical Society