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Ring-opening Metathesis Polymerization

In contrast to other olefin metathesis catalysts, Grubbs' catalysts tolerate other ..

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Melanie Sanford grew up in Providence, RI. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University in 1996 where she worked with Professor Bob Crabtree studying C-F bond functionalization. She then moved to Caltech where she worked with Professor Bob Grubbs investigating the mechanism of ruthenium-catalyzed olefin metathesis reactions. After receiving her PhD in 2001, she worked with Professor Jay Groves at Princeton University as an NIH post-doctoral fellow studying metalloporphyrin-catalyzed functionalization of olefins. Melanie has been a professor at the University of Michigan since the summer of 2003.

Department of Chemistry: Faculty

Jean Baptiste Bourg
Jean-Baptiste (J-B) was born in Ambilly, France and grew up in the French Alps, where he especially enjoyed skiing. He studied chemistry in Paris, earning an engineering degree from Chimie ParisTech, and did research on ruthenium-catalyzed hydrogenation. The weather in Paris being a little too rainy, he decided to move to Riverside, California. He spent the next four years trying to isolate diradicals and carbenes, and eventually completed his Ph.D. Willing to apply his knowledge on carbene chemistry to olefin metathesis, J-B worked with Prof. Grubbs before joining Materia in fall 2008.

This is an intentionally broad description

Careful balance of catalyst, monomer, and other factors can offer excellent control of the polymer structure. In terms of homogeneous catalysts, most tungsten and molybdenum catalysts (Schrock catalysts) have rapid initiation rates and can produce “living” polymerizations with excellent control of polydispersity and chain tacticity, but the low functional group tolerance limits the monomers available. Ruthenium metathesis catalysts (Grubbs catalysts) tend to have slower initiation rates, often leading to higher polydispersities, but their air stability and greater tolerance for functional groups makes them “user friendly” and enables use of a wide range of functional monomers and additives.

The vast majority of olefin metathesis reactions are catalyzed by complexes of either molybdenum (Schrock type) or ruthenium (Grubbs type). Molybdenum catalyst 1 was developed before the Grubbs-type catalysts and is highly active, but sensitivity of this catalyst to air and water limits its applicability. Ruthenium catalysts 2 and 3 are less active and cannot be recycled, but exhibit better functional-group tolerance than the rather indiscriminate catalyst 1.

Name Reactions - Organic Chemistry Portal

As an example, the second generation Grubbs olefin metathesis catalyst has been given the name Grubbs 2 catalyst. In the current SOR Database, there are more than 500 reactions where it has been used. Some of these are straightforward; some are not and generate novel ring systems like this one from the Martin group at North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

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  • The Sanford Group - University of Michigan

    Ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) uses metathesis catalysts to generate polymers from cyclic olefins.

  • Principal Investigator; Melanie Sanford grew up in Providence, RI

    About Materia

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    Research Our research interests are strongly rooted in creative chemical synthesis

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