Room Temperature Polyesterification

Jeffrey S. Moore, Samuel I. Stupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

521 Scopus citations


A new room temperature polymerization method has been developed for the synthesis of high molecular weight polyesters directly from carboxylic acids and phenols. The solution polymerization reaction proceeds under mild conditions, near neutral pH, and also avoids the use of preactivated acid derivatives for esterification. The reaction is useful in the preparation of isoregic ordered chains with translational polar symmetry and also in the polymerization of functionalized or chiral monomers. The conditions required for polymerization in the carbodiimide-based reaction included catalysis by the 1:1 molecular complex formed by 4- (dimethylamino) pyridine and p-toluenesulfonic acid. These conditions were established through studies on a model system involving esterification of p-toluic acid and p-cresol. Self-condensation of several hydroxy acid monomers by this reaction has produced routinely good yields of polyesters with molecular weights greater than 15 000. It is believed that the high extents of reaction required for significant degrees of polymerization result from suppression of the side reaction leading to N-acylurea. The utility of this reaction in the formation of polar chains from sensitive monomers is demonstrated here by the polycondensation of a chiral hydroxy acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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