Organic materials have revolutionized society through their use in everyday technologies – from food preservation to healthcare to renewable energy. The continued development of these and other technologies requires multifaceted approaches for designing materials with tailored properties and optimizing their sustainability profiles. In this regard, this presentation will review methods for (1) constructing functional materials from π-conjugated building blocks (doctoral research) and (2) deconstructing polymer waste into feedstocks for circular chemistry processes (post-doctoral research). The first section will discuss supramolecular strategies for creating functional materials. Appending hydrogen bonding groups to π-functional materials enables self-assembly into π-stacked nanostructures with unique magnetic, optoelectronic, and semiconductive properties. These emergent properties can be tuned through supramolecular design, urging the development of new supramolecular constructs. [2.2]Paracyclophane (pCp), unlike many π-building blocks, has been virtually unexplored in this context. The design, synthesis, and characterization of the first pCp derivatives capable of programmed self-assembly into extended cofacial π-stacks in solution and the solid-state will be reviewed. The second section will discuss synthetic strategies for achieving a zero-waste, circular plastics economy. Although synthetic polymers have revolutionized the world over the past century, the pace at which they are produced and disposed is unsustainable, with 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste now contaminating our land, water, and air. Of the major commodity polymers, poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) has the lowest recycling rate in most countries (0% in the US). This section of the talk will describe an electrosynthetic approach for repurposing PVC waste. In this method, chloride atoms are recovered under electroreductive conditions and directly used as feedstock in a tandem electrooxidative chlorination reaction.
Hosted by: Will Gutekunst