One-Pot Synthesis of CO2-Based Polylactide-b-Poly(ether carbonate)-b-Polylactide Triblock Copolymers and Their Mechanical Properties

Jingjing Liu, Mingchen Jia, Yves Gnanou*, Xiaoshuang Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The synthesis of CO2-based triblock copolymers made of a central poly(ether carbonate) blocks flanked by two external polylactide blocks is described. Such triblock copolymers are obtained in one-pot by first CO2/epoxides copolymerization using a difunctional onium salt initiator in the presence of triethylborane, followed by ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of lactide (LA) assisted by diphenylurea (UPh), a hydrogen-bonding activator. Upon varying the pressure of CO2 during its copolymerization with propylene oxide (PO), the Tg of the central block could be fine-tuned allowing the synthesis of poly(propylene oxide-co-propylene carbonate) (PPPC) with various carbonate versus ether contents. These PPPC samples are then mechanically characterized; as their content in ether linkages progressively increased, a transition from brittle-to-ductile-to-elastomeric behavior could be seen. Upon appending two external enantiomeric poly(d-lactide) (PDLA) blocks to the central PPPC block, the generated PDLA-b-PPPC-b-PDLA triblock copolymers exhibit an impressive increase of their ductility compared to that of the parent statistical PPPC copolymers. When benchmarked against commercial polyolefins the latter CO2-based triblock copolymers outperform the mechanical performances of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) by all accounts, their elasticity modulus, tensile strength, toughness and elongation at break being indeed superior to those of the polyolefins tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1615-1624
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research work is supported by KAUST under baseline funding (BAS/1/1374-01-01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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