A group of researchers from the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, Canada, has developed a brand new type of glue that can hold polyethylene materials together. In their paper printed in the journal Science, the group explains how they formed a carbene crosslinker with two diazirine motifs. Felix de Zwart, Johan Bootsma and, Bas de Bruin with the University of Amsterdam have printed a Perspective article in the same journal issue describing the work by the crew.
As de Zwart, Bootsma, and de Bruin note, scientists want to develop universal products that could be used for crosslinking polymeric materials. Doing so would enable for creating new products out of such elements like polyethylene and polypropylene—both of which lack crosslinking characteristics. In this latest attempt, the group in Canada has produced a crosslinker that can be utilized to hold such supplies collectively.
As de Zwart, Bootsma, and de Bruin further note, singlet carbenes are capable of enduring direct C-H insertion, leading to covalent C-C bonds.
The researchers report that they “logically” created a bis-diazirine molecule that decomposes into a carbene under controllable circumstances—corresponding to exposure to heat or light. In this instance, “logically” signifies that they balanced the risk of explosion or ignition with reactivity—selecting bis-diazirine compounds that provided the best outcomes taking both into evidence.
The result was a molecule that was capable of inserting into C-H polymer bonds. They report that it was able to crosslink between different polymer chains, including both polyethylene and polypropylene.