Synthesis, reactivity, and coordination chemistry relevant to the copolymerization of CO2 and epoxides by first row transition metal schiff base complexes
Frantz, Eric Benjamin
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Excepting agricultural based products, which themselves require a great deal of energy to produce, our supply of natural resources such as minerals, metal ore, fresh water, coal, oil and natural gas are all limited in supply. The depletion of these substances is imminent and this knowledge weighs heavily on humankind. The utilization of CO2 for the production of polycarbonates is one attempt at exploiting a profoundly abundant and renewable resource. The importance of research in this and similar fields justifies the detailed study of the chemicals and procedures involved with this chemistry. This current work concentrates on the fundamental study of transition metal Schiff base complexes that have shown a great deal of promise in their ability to catalyze the copolymerization of CO2 and epoxide to form aliphatic polycarbonates. A new chromium(III) Schiff base complex has been synthesized and evaluated for its ability to catalyze the formation of polymer. The ligand employed bears an N2O2 coordination sphere identical to the widely utilized chromium(III) and cobalt(III) salen catalysts. This complex was shown to be active towards the copolymerization of CO2 and cyclohexene oxide. Although the activity was less than that seen with chromium(III) salen complex, the study demonstrates that new ligand systems are available beyond salen and deserve further attention. A class of manganese(III) Schiff base complexes was also synthesized and evaluated as catalysts. Although crystallographic data has shown that these complexes are structural analogs to chromium(III) salens, the difference in metal center leads to a nearly complete elimination of catalytic activity. Such a marked difference has been taken advantage of by using this very low activity to study the ring-opening of epoxide in the initial step of the copolymerization both mechanistically and kinetically. It has also been utilized in an evaluation of the coordination chemistry of the polymerization process. This has led to some valuable conclusions about the nature and role of the metal center that previously have not been studied. Manganese(III) salen complexes were also synthesized and evaluated in an effort to compare these important ligands to other Schiff bases and confirm the findings mentioned above.