To become independent of petroleum resources, societies have to develop methods to synthesize full-biobased polymers from natural products directly. In this study, full-biobased cellulose esters were synthesized by the oxidative esterification process between cellulose and natural α,β-unsaturated aldehydes in an ionic liquid working as solvent and catalyst. The role of the ionic liquid in this cellulose-modification system was systematically investigated, and a newly designed noncarboxylate-type ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium 2-pyridinolate (EmimOPy), was developed to prevent a serious side reaction in which the carboxylate anion of the carboxylate-type ionic liquid is introduced into the hydroxyl group of cellulose as an ester group on the products. Under optimized conditions, this oxidative esterification-reaction system in EmimOPy afforded fully substituted cellulose ester (up to the degree of substitution = 3.0). Furthermore, cellulose reacted with several types of aldehyde substrates, even biobased low-reactive α- or β-substituted unsaturated aldehydes (e.g., citral and perillaldehyde). Thus, this synthesis demonstrates excellent atom economy without using any additional catalysts or activators under metal-free conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment