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Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

Reactivity of Amine/E(C6F5)3 (E = B, Al) Lewis Pairs toward Linear and Cyclic Acrylic Monomers: Hydrogenation vs. Polymerization.


PMID 26016548

Abstract

This work reveals the contrasting reactivity of amine/E(C6F5)3 (E = B, Al) Lewis pairs toward linear and cyclic acrylic monomers, methyl methacrylate (MMA) and biorenewable γ-methyl-α-methylene-γ-butyrolactone (γMMBL). While mixing of 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine (TMP) and B(C6F5)3 leads to a frustrated Lewis pair (FLP), Et3N reacts with B(C6F5)3 to form disproportionation products, ammonium hydridoborate ionic pair and iminium zwitterion. On the other hand, the stoichiometric reaction of either TMP or Et3N with Al(C6F5)3 leads to clean formation of a classic Lewis adduct (CLA). Neither TMP nor Et3N, when paired with E(C6F5)3, polymerizes MMA, but the Et3N/2B(C6F5)3 pair promotes transfer hydrogenation of MMA to form methyl isobutyrate. In contrast, the amine/E(C6F5)3 pairs promote rapid polymerization of γMMBL carrying the more reactive exocyclic methylene moiety, achieving full conversion in less than 3 min even at a low catalyst loading of 0.0625 mol %. TMP is more effective than Et3N for the polymerization when paired with either the borane or the alane, while the alane exhibits higher polymerization activity than the borane when paired with Et3N. Overall, the TMP/Al(C6F5)3 system exhibits the highest polymerization activity, achieving a maximum turn-over frequency of 96,000 h-1 at 0.125 mol % of catalyst loading, producing high molecular weight PγMMBL with Mn = 1.29 × 105 g∙mol-1.

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