Topological Control from a Synthetic Polymer

Congrats to Mohammed Alkattan and our University of Glasgow collaborator Joelle Prunet who have just had a really cool paper accepted as a VIP article in Angewandte Chemie:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ange.201805113

TOC Angw

The paper details our work on creating stereoregular cyclopolyethers. Ring-closing metathesis from an isotactic polyether affords the target cyclopolyether. Stereoselective cis-dihydroxylation gives a PEGose framework that mimics the helical ladder structure of amylose. This topological control of synthetic polymer frameworks is a really tough challenge in polymer science in the quest for biopolymer mimics. Great work!

Joseph Black Stars

Big congratulations to Meng Wang (2nd Place Talk Prize – Materials Chemistry) and Joanne Dunne (2nd Place Poster Prize – Synthesis and Catalysis) for their award winning work at the 4th annual Joseph Black Conference on 31 May.

Big congratulations to the rest of the group as well – Gerry gave a great talk in the Chem/Bio section on his sensor work; Dan and Mo both gave great talks in the Syn/Cat section (although Dan needs to get his face onto Titanium Man’s body, too…); and both Vishal and Yas had really attractive posters presenting their work on new polymers.

Great work!

New paper on phostones and poly(phosphonate)s!

Great work by Emily with the Wurm group at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. This paper describes the synthesis of phostones, i.e., 2-alkoxy-2-oxo-1,3-oxaphospholanes, and their use in the preparation of linear poly(phosphonate)s via ring-opening polymerization resulting in polymers with a hydrolytically stable P–C bond in the polymer backbone. Phostones have the stable P–C bond within the cycle, which leads to a dramatic increase of the monomer stability toward hydrolysis and long shelf-lives compared to other cyclic phosphoesters, which hydrolyze immediately at contact with water.

Read it here

ma-2017-02473s_0010

University cuts out fossil fuels investments

The student body at the University of Edinburgh was surprised yesterday evening with an email from its senior Vice-Principal, Charlie Jeffery, announcing remarkable news: the University has decided to complete its transition out of fossil fuels within three years.

For those who have been following trends in the institution’s investments, this is no real surprise. Since 2010, it has invested more than £150m in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment. The move is aligned with the efforts promoted by their ‘Zero by 2040’ policy, for which the University aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, under which more than £30m were invested in low carbon technology on campus.

It is important to remember that this divestment does not mean we will cease to work, as researchers and consultants, with companies in the fossil fuels sector. Academic researchers, including the Green Materials Laboratory, play an essential and growing role in improving the sustainability of petroleum companies, from new fuel additives to alternative polymers to new energy alternatives. The Green Materials Laboratory, in particular, is keen to ensure that those dialogues and research relationships continue, to ensure we maintain a strong voice in these organisations, and advocate for a more sustainable future.

Having represented less than 1% of the invested funds at the time of the decision, this step towards a greener future is largely symbolic: The University has the largest endowment fund of any university in Scotland, and, following this step, it will become the largest in the UK to be free of fossil fuel investment. To read the press release, head here.

Fern’s new cross-metathesis paper!

Cross-metathesis functionalised exo-olefin derivatives of lactide
Fern’s latest work explores the use of two derivatives of lactide, each of which features an exocyclic olefin, and their pre-polymerization modification by olefin cross-metathesis. The ring-opening polymerization of these new monomers, and their hydrogenated congeners, is facilitated by organo- and Lewis-acid catalysts. Together, they offer a new strategy for derivatizing and altering the properties of poly(lactic acid).
web

One Last Lecture in Japan…

In my last week here in Japan, I presented a lecture to the local section of the Society of Polymer Science Japan, which has been promoting polymer science in industry and academia since 1951. Hosted by Prof. Masami Kamigaito, this was a fun lecture with lots of good questions from the students and staff attending, and an enjoyable meal of eel, a Nagoya specialty. I’m hopeful that Assistant Prof. Mineto Uchiyama keeps in touch – he just wouldn’t stop talking the entire night! Thanks very much for the hospitality – and hopefully we can collaborate in the future.IMG_4775.JPG