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Biopolymers from Renewable Resources (Macromolecular Systems - Materials Approach)
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Synthesis of Polylactide
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Commercial production of polylactide resin is usually done by ring opening
polymerization of lactide, the cyclic dimer of lactic acid. In order to obtain polylactide
resin with higher molecular weight with better properties, using highly pure monomer is
crucial.

Thus, prior to polymerization, crude lactide monomer is purified to get its water
content <50 ppm, and free acidity to be < 0.1% meq/kg.
Then, the purified
monomer is
polymerized using
various catalysts,
including stannous
octoate, the widely
used tin-based
catalyst, to get the
aliphatic polyester.
Synthetic Scheme for Ring-opening Polymerization of Lactide
Depending on the lactide isomer used, the final properties of polylactide varies;
poly (L-Lactide) (PLLA) and PDLA are semicristalline, while Poly (D, L-lactide)
is amorphous.
Poly(D-Lactide): (PDLA) Structure
(semicrystalline)
Poly(L-Lactide): (PLLA) Structure
(semicrystalline)
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