Synfacts | Synfact of the Month 2023-11-21

Introducing Double Bonds to Polyolefins via Retro-Diels–Alder Reaction

Contributors:  Dahui ZhaoChen Li



Immense research attention has been drawn to tackling the difficulties presented by polyolefin degradation and recycling. Introducing certain unsaturation, susceptible to chemical cleavage and functionalization, appears to be one of the possible solutions.


By introducing Diels–Alder comonomers, masked double bonds are incorporated in the backbone of polyethylenes. Then, via the post-polymerization­ retro-Diels–Alder reactions, the double bonds are readily revealed. When subjected to metathesis conditions, telechelic polyethylene macromonomers are produced, which can then be used to make recyclable polyesters.

Parke SM, Lopez JC, Cui S, LaPointe AM, Coates GW. * Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

Polyethylene Incorporating Diels–Alder Comonomers: A “Trojan Horse” Strategy for Chemically Recyclable Polyolefins.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023; 62: e202301927
DOI: 10.1002/anie.202301927