Copolymerization of Epoxides and CO2: Polymer Chemistry for Incorporation in Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Because fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource, alternative sources of chemical carbon will be necessary as petroleum based chemicals decline during the 21st century. Carbon dioxide can serve as a source of carbon for the synthesis of useful chemicals, thereby contributing to a sustainable chemical industry. A promising technology for CO2 utilization is the alternating copolymerization of epoxides and CO2 to afford polycarbonates. This article describes the catalysis of this polymerization process employing well-defined transition metal catalysts. It is intended for use in advanced inorganic chemistry courses, which are required for an ACS-Approved degree in Chemistry, and integrates concepts in inorganic chemistry and polymer science. Concomitantly, a goal of this material is to contribute to the recently established polymer requirement by the Committee on Professional Training (CPT) for an ACS-certified degree. The principles of inorganic chemistry are shown to play vital roles in the mechanistic aspects of this copolymerization process.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Darensbourg, D. J.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Darensbourg, Donald J

publication date

  • October 2017