Regioselective Synthesis of Cellulose Derivatives

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Virginia Tech

Cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide on earth and it is relatively a simple homopolymer with three hydroxyl groups, differing only subtly in reactivity. The position of substitution has a powerful influence on physical properties of cellulose derivatives. To better understand the structure and property relationships of cellulose derivatives, it is critical to have all homopolymers related to important cellulose ethers and esters available. However, regiocontrol in cellulose chemistry is still a difficult, mostly unconquered frontier.

In this dissertation, the main objective is to develop novel synthetic methods to synthesize regioselectively substituted cellulose derivatives including cellulose ethers and esters, and apply advanced characterization tools to understand structure and its influence on properties, which will give us deep insights into the composition of more random commercial derivatives, maximizing the content of advantageous monosaccharides. Several strategies to regioselectively synthesize cellulose derivatives are discussed in detail. The obtained regioselective cellulose derivatives were fully characterized analytically. Structure-property relationships of these regioselectively substituted cellulose derivatives were also studied.

protective group, structure-property relationship, regioselective synthesis, cellulose, cellulose derivatives