Progress in the synthesis of sustainable polymers from terpenes and terpenoids

Megan R. Thomsett, Thomas E. Storr, Olivia R. Monaghan, Robert A. Stockman, Steven M. Howdle

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The imminent depletion of resources derived from fossil fuels is a major concern for today’s society. 300 Mt of polymers are used every year in the form of plastics, most commonly derived from fossil fuels, hence the necessity to find new materials based on renewable resources. This review explores the utilisation of monoterpenes and terpenoids – a family of abundant and inexpensive natural products – as promising renewable monomers. Terpenes can be directly used in polymerisations or converted into bespoke monomers through organic transformations. The use of terpenes for the production of renewable plastics has been a prevalent topic of research for the past few decades. Early research focused on cationic polymerisation of terpenes by way of their alkene moieties; however, more recently terpenes are being functionalised to incorporate handles for a larger range of polymerisation techniques. Herein an assessment of the future prospects for the use of these small functional molecules to synthesise novel and valuable renewable materials is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalGreen Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2016

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