Cyclohexene oxide/CO2 copolymerization catalyzed by chromium(III) salen complexes and N-methylimidazole: effects of varying salen ligand substituents and relative cocatalyst loading. Academic Article uri icon


  • A detailed mechanistic study into the copolymerization of CO2 and cyclohexene oxide utilizing CrIII(salen)X complexes and N-methylimidazole, where H2salen = N,N'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylsalicylidene)-1,2-ethylenediimine and other salen derivatives and X = Cl or N3, has been conducted. By studying salen ligands with various groups on the diimine backbone, we have observed that bulky groups oriented perpendicular to the salen plane reduce the activity of the catalyst significantly, while such groups oriented parallel to the salen plane do not retard copolymer formation. This is not surprising in that the mechanism for asymmetric ring opening of epoxides was found to occur in a bimetallic fashion, whereas these perpendicularly oriented groups along with the tert-butyl groups on the phenolate rings produce considerable steric requirements for the two metal centers to communicate and thus initiate the copolymerization process. It was also observed that altering the substituents on the phenolate rings of the salen ligand had a 2-fold effect, controlling both catalyst solubility as well as electron density around the metal center, producing significant effects on the rate of copolymer formation. This and other data discussed herein have led us to propose a more detailed mechanistic delineation, wherein the rate of copolymerization is dictated by two separate equilibria. The first equilibrium involves the initial second-order epoxide ring opening and is inhibited by excess amounts of cocatalyst. The second equilibrium involves the propagation step and is enhanced by excess cocatalyst. This gives the [cocatalyst] both a positive and negative effect on the overall rate of copolymerization.

published proceedings

  • Inorg Chem

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Darensbourg, D. J., Mackiewicz, R. M., Rodgers, J. L., Fang, C. C., Billodeaux, D. R., & Reibenspies, J. H.

citation count

  • 162

complete list of authors

  • Darensbourg, Donald J||Mackiewicz, Ryan M||Rodgers, Jody L||Fang, Cindy C||Billodeaux, Damon R||Reibenspies, Joseph H

publication date

  • September 2004