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Polymers are ubiquitous in modern society with a majority of them being used in the commodity plastic industries. Many of these plastics are petroleum-based materials that do not degrade and contribute the global problem of increasing pollution and waste. Polyglycolic acid (PGA) is a well-known biodegradable polymer used in various medical applications such as sutures and medical device coatings. The typical synthesis of high molecular weight PGA involves ring opening polymerization batch reactions using a tin catalyst. This synthesis typically requires hours and necessitates lengthy workup procedures to obtain PGA. Herein, we describe a droplet-based flow chemistry approach consisting of emulsion generation followed by ring-opening polymerization at elevated temperatures. Our methodology relies on the use of two immiscible liquids to form droplets of monomer and catalyst solution which are then driven into the heated segment of the flow reactor. This method leads to solid polymer product with short residence time in the reactor (minutes). Isolated products were characterized by FTIR, TGA-DSC, 1H NMR, and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.


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  • Subject
    • Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
  • Event date
    • 26 March 2021

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      L. Zane Miller and N. Eric Huddleston