Aluminum salen complexes and tetrabutylammonium salts: a binary catalytic system for production of polycarbonates from CO2 and cyclohexene oxide.
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A series of complexes of the form (salen)AlZ, where H2salen = N,N'-bis(salicylidene)-1,2-phenylenediimine and various other salen derivatives and Z = Et or Cl, have been synthesized. Several of these complexes have been characterized by X-ray crystallography. An investigation of the utilization of these aluminum derivatives along with both ionic and neutral bases as cocatalysts for the copolymerization of carbon dioxide and cyclohexene oxide has been conducted. By studying the reactivity of these complexes for this process as substituents on the diimine backbone and phenolate rings are altered, we have observed that aluminum prefers electron-withdrawing groups on the salen ligands, thereby producing an electrophilic metal center to be most active toward production of polycarbonates from CO2 and cyclohexene oxide. For example, the complex derived from H2salen = N,N'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylsalicylidene)-1,2-ethylenediimine is essentially inactive when compared to the analogous derivative containing nitro substituents in the 3-positions of the phenolate groups. This is to be contrasted with the catalytic activity observed for the (salen)CrX systems, where electron-donating salen ligands greatly enhanced the reactivity of these complexes for the coupling of CO2 and epoxides. While (salen)AlZ complexes are capable of producing poly(cyclohexene oxide) carbonate with low amounts of polyether linkage along with small quantities of cyclic carbonate byproducts, their reactivities, covering a turnover frequency range of 5.2-35.4 mol of epoxide consumed/(mol of Al x h), are greatly reduced when compared to their (salen)CrX analogues under identical reaction conditions.