Polymerization of propylene carbonate



Polymerization of propylene carbonate was carried out at 120–180°C mainly with the use of diethylzinc catalyst. The polymer was a pale-yellow, viscous material of relatively low molecular weight (1000–4000). From the spectroscopic analysis of the polymer and its hydrolyzed product, the polymer was determined to have the structure

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where x ⋍ 0.50, y ⋍ 0.25, and z ⋍ 0.25. This strongly suggested that the polymerization of propylene carbonate proceeded via 2,7-dimethyl-1,4,6,9-tetraoxaspiro[4,4]nonane (DTN) as an intermediate compound. Hence, DTN was synthesized and polymerized with the use of diethylzinc catalyst. The structure of the polymer thus prepared coincided exactly with that of the polymer from propylene carbonate. From these, a plausible mechanism of the polymerization was developed.