The journey towards greener polymers and catalysts using earth abundant elements, carbon dioxide and renewable feedstocks

Date: March 18, 2022 1:30 pm (ET)


  • Francesca Kerton
    Memorial University of Newfoundland
Fran Kerton

Abstract: The Kerton group has been studying homogeneous iron, boron, and aluminum catalysts in ring-opening copolymerization reactions targeting greener polymer systems. This talk will summarize our recent results in three areas. (1) We have developed structure-activity relationships in iron-catalyzed epoxide-carbon dioxide copolymerizations. (2) We have enhanced selectivity control in polyester and polycarbonate formation by employing morpholine hemi-labile groups to protect aluminum catalytic centres. (3) We have used aryl boranes in polymerizations of epoxides with carbon dioxide, and with anhydrides to yield polycarbonate-polyester block copolymers. We have also shown that the polycarbonate blocks can be depolymerized catalytically opening the door towards future repurposing and the circular economy.

Biography: Fran Kerton is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She completed her D.Phil. at Sussex University, UK (G. A. Lawless) and her postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia (M. D. Fryzuk).  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has received several awards including the 2019 Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award. She performs research in carbon dioxide utilization and is part of an NSERC-funded training network “Centre for Innovation and Research on Carbon Utilization in Industrial Technologies”. Her group studies both natural (e.g. chitin, collagen) and synthetic polymers (e.g. polyesters, polycarbonates), and they have been investigating their degradation under chemical and biological conditions.