‘Our transesterification process is a practical and sustainable candidate for industrial (meth)acrylate ester synthesis…’
Researchers from Japan’s Nagoya University have developed an environmentally friendly chemical route for producing high yields of (meth)acrylate esters, which are used in a range of industrial applications including coatings, dyes and adhesives. The process removes the need for high temperatures and toxic catalysts; their work has been published in the journal ACS Catalysis.
The research team said that they focused on improving the catalyst involved in the transesterification process. This process involves using alcohol and a catalyst which ‘fine tunes’ the (meth)acrylate ester properties so that the product can be used in a number of ways. The researchers found that sodium and magnesium aryloxides worked well as non-toxic catalysts at the relatively mild temperature of 25oC, producing high yields of a broad range of (meth)acrylate esters, depending on the type of alcohol used in the reaction. Computational calculations indicated the new process route had high chemoselectivity.
Professor Kazuaki Ishihara, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University said; ‘Our transesterification process is a practical and sustainable candidate for industrial (meth)acrylate ester synthesis, providing excellent chemoselectivity, high yields, mild reaction conditions and a lack of any toxic metal salts.’ The team is now looking to collaborate with colleagues in industry and test their process, as well as working to develop recyclable catalysts.