Poly(lactic acid) (PLA)

Poly(lactic acid), a biocompatible and biodegradable material, is rapidly gaining in importance as an environmentally sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived products. It finds a wide range of uses, from biomedical implantation devices, e.g. sutures, rods, plates and pins, through artificial skin and drug delivery agents to environmentally benign film and fibres for packaging and clothing.

The attraction of PLA as a material is its ready availability from renewable resources such as corn, sugar and dairy products. It is also easily biodegraded back to lactic acid or recycled to lactide monomer.

In recent work, we have described new tin(II) and iron(II) based initiators supported by beta-diketiminate ligands. These complexes initiate the living polymerisation of lactide under mild conditions.

Molecular structures of well-defined tin and iron initiators for lactide polymerisation.

Representative publications:

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