Our group explores new chemistry related to catalysis and polymer functionalization using the tools and precepts of synthetic organic chemistry to prepare functional oligomers or polymers that in turn are used to either effect catalysis in a greener, more environmentally benign way or to more efficiently functionalize polymers. Often this involves creatively combining the physiochemical properties of a polymer with the reactivity of a low molecular weight compound to form new materials with new functions. These green chemistry projects involve undamental research both in synthesis and catalysis but has practical aspects because of its relevance to practical problems.
A common theme in our catalysis studies is exploring how soluble polymers can facilitate homogeneous catalysis. Homogeneous catalysts are ubiquitously used to prepare polymers, chemical intermediates, basic chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Such catalysts often use expensive or precious metals or expensive ligands or are used at relatively high catalyst loadings. The products often contain traces of these catalysts or ligands - traces that are undesirable for esthetic reasons or because of the potential toxicity of these impurities. Both the cost of these catalysts of these issues require catalyst/product separation - separations that often are inefficient and lead to chemical waste. These processes also use volatile organic solvents - solvents that have to be recovered and separated. Projects underway in our lab explore how soluble polymers can address each of these problems. Examples of past schemes that achieve this goal in a general way as highlighted in the Figure below.
We also use functional polymers to modify existing polymers. Ongoing projects involve molecular design of additives that can more efficiently modify polymers' physical properties. We also use functional polymers in covalent layer-by-layer assembly to surface polymers' surface chemistry.
- Fu, Y., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2020). Recyclable Polyisobutylene‐Bound HMPA as an Organocatalyst in Recyclable Poly(α‐olefin) Solvents. ChemCatChem. 12(23), 6050-6058.
- Thavornpradit, S., Killough, J. M., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2020). Minimizing solvent waste in catalytic reactions in highly recyclable hydrocarbon solvents. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. 18(22), 4248-4256.
- Ratliff, C. M., Hernandez, A., Watson, C. B., Bergbreiter, D. E., Schmalz, S., Rech, R., & Heatley, J. J. (2020). Use of Margarine for the Successful Removal of Polyisobutylene in an Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) and Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). JOURNAL OF AVIAN MEDICINE AND SURGERY. 34(1), 70-77.
- Rosenfeld, N., Chao, C., Watson, C. B., Kumar, M. P., Madrahimov, S. T., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2020). Solubilization of silica nanoparticles in alkanes and poly(α‐olefin)s by functionalized polyisobutylene oligomers. Journal of Polymer Science. 58(8), 1144-1152.
- Fu, Y., Perales, C., Eliason, T., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2019). 110th Anniversary: Reversible Solubilization of Polar Polymers and Polymeric Catalysts in Nonpolar Solvents. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 58(31), 14579-14587.
- Skiles, S., Wan, A., Fu, H., Allen, A. L., Elinski, M. B., Batteas, .., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2019). Chapter 7 Solute- and Temperature-responsive Smart Membranes Formed by Covalent Layer-by-layer Assembly. Smart Membranes. (pp. 185-201). Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Bergbreiter, D. E. (2009). Thermomorphic Catalysts. Recoverable and Recyclable Catalysts. (pp. 117-153). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Fu, Y., Bergbreiter, D. E., & Madrahimov, S. (2018). Stimuli-responsive solubility of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) in nonpolar solvents. ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 256,
- Khamatnurova, T. V., Johnson, M., Santana, D., Bazzi, H. S., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2014). Designing Phase Selectively Soluble Polymer-Supports for Dimethylaminopyridine and Phosphine-Ligated Pd(0) Catalysts. Topics in Catalysis. 57(17-20), 1438-1444.
- Chao, C., & Bergbreiter, D. E. (2014). Synthesis of polyisobutylene-attached metallophthalocyanines as homogeneous catalysts in reduction and oxidation reactions. ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 248,
- Skiles, S. L., Spear, J., Bergbreiter, D. E., & Batteas, J. D. (2014). Environment dependent tunability of surface mechanics in PNIPAM/SiO2 composite films. ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 247,
- Andrews, J. L., Suriboot, J. L., Bergbreiter, D. E., & Bazzi, H. S. (2014). Novel procedure for the removal of Ru after ROMP and RCM reactions using PIB-bound isocyanides. ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 247,
- Bergbreiter, D. E., Bazzi, H. S., & Hongfa, C. (2018). Nonpolar phase-soluble metathesis catalysts.
- Bergbreiter, D., Bazzi, H., & Hongfa, C. (2016). Nonpolar phase-soluble metathesis catalysts.
- Mao, H., Luchette, P., & Bergbreiter, D. (2012). Polymers responsive to radiation pressures.
- Bergbreiter, D., Li, C., Besinaiz, J., Li, J., & Sung, S. (2007). Phase selective polymer supports for catalysis.
- Bergbreiter, D., Zhou, Y., & Mariagnanam, V. (1998). Co and terpolymers of styrenic monomers having reactive functional groups.
- Polymers as Solvents and Ligands in Sustainable Homogeneous Catalysis awarded by National Science Foundation 2014 - 2018
- Eppright University Professorship conferred by Texas A&M University - (College Station, Texas, United States) - For Undergraduate Teaching Excellence 2012
- Malinski, Thomas John (2020-05). Novel Applications of Poly(Alpha-Olefin)s as Solvents and Supports. (Doctoral Dissertation)
- Harrell, Mary Layne (2017-12). Studies of Alternative Solvent Systems to Recycle Phase Selectively Soluble Catalysts. (Doctoral Dissertation)
- Samunual, Peerada (2017-12). Using Polyisobutylene as Nonpolar Phase Solubilizing Agents and Polymer Supports for Catalysts and Reagents. (Doctoral Dissertation)
- Chao, Chih-Gang (2017-12). The Use of Lipophilic Molecules as Solubility Promoters for Catalysis, Synthesis, and Nanoparticle Modification. (Doctoral Dissertation)
- Liang, Yannan (2016-08). Phase-Selectively Soluble Polyisobutylene (PIB)-Bound Catalysts and Their Applications in Green Synthetic Processes. (Doctoral Dissertation)