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Laccat - A novel class of Zn-catalyst for the polymerization of cyclic esters

The use of heavy metals in chemical production and their

concentration in products, in particular biodegradable polymers, become increasingly an issue of concern. Often zinc is considered less problematic compared to other catalytic active elements like tin. A novel type of zinc complexes has been proved to successfully

catalyze ring-opening polymerizations of lactides. In principle, these new catalyst can be used for the ringopening polymerisation of a broad range of cyclic esters. Commercial Opportunity The novel Zn-catalysts offer the opportunity to substitute heavy metal catalyst. They can be utilized to catalyze the polymerization of lactones, lactams, lactims, lactols, lactides and thio-derivatives. The Zn-catalysts are stable with respect to air and air humidity and have been successfully tested in a lactide polymerization in the melt at 135 – 200°C. These new catalyst are suitable for the production of polymers with an optimized polydispersity. For example, they can easily be used for the production of Polylactides (PLA) in conventional plants.

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