Enzymatic ring-opening polymerization was applied to synthesize high molecular weight polypentadecalactone (PPDL). The synthetic procedure was optimized on a small-scale and subsequently transferred to 30 g scale to yield sufficient material for fiber spinning. Molecular weights (Mw) of 143 000 g mol-1 were obtained. Mechanical and thermal properties of the non-oriented, high molecular weight PPDL were determined and are largely in agreement with the literature data. The high molecular weight PPDL was melt-processed into fibers, which were further elongated to about 9–10 times their original length. Analysis of the fibers revealed differences in crystal orientation as a function of the processing conditions. Preliminary fiber tensile measurements confirm a high strength of up to 0.74 GPa for the fiber with the highest crystal orientation.
Geus, de, M., Meulen, van der, I., Goderis, B., Hecke, van, K., Dorschu, M., Werff, van der, H., ... Heise, A. (2010). Performance polymers from renewable monomers: high molecular weight poly(pentadecalactone) for fiber applications. Polymer Chemistry, 1(4), 525-533. https://doi.org/10.1039/b9py00360f