Novel synthesis of biodegradable poly(lactide-co-ethylene glycol) block copolymers

Yahia Lemmouchi, Michael C. Perry, Allan J. Amass*, Khirud Chakraborty, Francois Schué

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biodegradable and amphiphilic diblock copolymers [polylactide-block- poly(ethylene glycol)] and triblock copolymers [polylactide-block-poly(ethylene glycol)-block-polylactide] were synthesized by the anionic ring-opening polymerization of lactides in the presence of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether or poly(ethylene glycol) and potassium hexamethyldisilazide as a catalyst. The polymerization in toluene at room temperature was very fast, yielding copolymers of controlled molecular weights and tailored molecular architectures. The chemical structure of the copolymers was investigated with 1H and 13C NMR. The formation of block copolymers was confirmed by 13C NMR and differential scanning calorimetry investigations. The monomodal profile of the molecular weight distribution by gel permeation chromatography provided further evidence of block copolymer formation as well as the absence of cyclic species. Additional confirmation of the block copolymers was obtained by the substitution of 2-butanol for poly(ethylene glycol); butyl groups were clearly identified by 1H NMR as polymer chain end groups. The effects of the copolymer composition and lactide stereochemistry on the copolymer properties were examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2235-2245
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2007


  • Biodegradable
  • Block copolymers
  • Catalysts
  • Polyesters
  • Ring-opening polymerization


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