Free-Radical Pathways to Isocyanates – Toward a Green Access to Urethanes and Polyurethanes

Description: The objective of this research program is to develop new methods of access to isocyanates and their derivatives, urethanes and polyurethanes (PU), from cheap and notably bio-sourced raw materials. PU are commodity polymers prepared industrially by adding polyols to polyisocyanates. As the latter are carcinogenic and accessible from highly toxic phosgene, new routes to PU must be considered, which will also involve the use of bio-sourced precursors in place of the fossil-based raw materials usually employed.
This isocyanate synthesis project is based on the use of simple and readily available precursors, such as amines and hydrocarbons, and involves activation processes, preferably metal-free, such as photocatalysis under visible, red and near infrared light. The project is organized around 4 main tasks. The first two concern the molecular activation of the above synthons and will be carried out by a team from the ISM at the University of Bordeaux. The third and fourth tasks will consist of an application of the previous methods to the preparation and shaping of polyurethanes and will be developed by LCPO polymer chemists, also at University of Bordeaux.

Partner: Institut des Sciences Moléculaires (ISM), UMR 5255