Users and staff at the Molecular Foundry have developed a new process of creating polymers containing sulfate or sulfonate that is faster, easier, and cheaper than previous methods.
Significance and Impact
Polysulfonates and polysulfates have great potential as competitors to polycarbonates in industrial and commercial products. This new technique dramatically increases product yield, requires 100-1000 times less catalyst, and is far less hazardous, opening the door to large-scale production.
- The sulfur(VI) fluoride exchange (SuFEx) reaction, combined with a newly identified class of bifluoride salt catalyst, can quickly make polysulfates and polysulfonates.
- While polysulfates have shown great potential as competitors to polycarbonates, they have been rarely used for industrial applications due to lack of reliable and easily scalable synthetic processes.
- Expertise at the Molecular Foundry enabled the characterization of the reaction products.