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Microwave energy assisted synthesis of poly lactic acid via continuous reactive extrusion: Modelling of reaction kinetics

: Dubey, S.P.; Abhyankar, H.A.; Marchante, V.; Brighton, J.L.; Bergmann, B.; Trinh, G.; David, C.

Volltext (PDF; )

RSC Advances 7 (2017), Nr.30, S.18529-18538
ISSN: 2046-2069
European Commission EC
FP7-NMP; 309802; InnoREX
Continuous, highly precise, metal-free polymerisation of PLA using alternative energies for reactive extrusion
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ICT ()

The most commonly used batch process to manufacture PLA is ring opening polymerization (ROP) of lactide monomer in a suitable solvent, in the presence of a metallic/bimetallic catalyst (Sn, Zn, and Al) or other organic catalysts. However, this process does not lend itself to safer/cleaner and high throughput (and high volume) manufacturing. Continuous reactive extrusion of lactide monomer using a suitable reaction input has the potential to increase the throughput, and this route has been explored in the literature. In this work, reactive extrusion experiments using stannous octoate Sn(Oct)(2) and tri-phenyl phosphine (PPh)(3), were considered to perform ROP of lactide monomer using the microwave as an alternative energy (AE) source for activating and/or boosting the polymerization. Implementation of a microwave generator in a section of the extruder is one of the novelties of this research. A simulation model of ROP of PLA was formulated to estimate the impact of reaction kinetics and AE source on the polymerization process. Ludovic (R) software was used for the simulation of continuous reactive extrusion of the process. Experimental and simulated results were compared for the validation of the methodology. This work also highlights the advantages and drawbacks of most conventional metal catalysts, the effect of alternative energies on reaction mechanism, and safe and efficient production of PLA.