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Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors: M. Epple, H. Kirschnick, and J. M. Thomas

The thermal elimination of NaCl from sodium chloroacetate, a polymerization reaction that takes place between 150 and 200‡C in the solid state, leads quantitatively to the simplest polyester, polyglycolide. Byin situ IR-spectroscopy, we have shown that the reaction proceeds smoothly and directly without intermediates or by-products. The endgroups of the polymeric product — ionised carboxylate groups (-COONa) and hydrogen-bonded alcohol groups (−COH) — are clearly detectable. It is therefore concluded that the polymer forms extended chains, not rings, during the course of this solid-state reaction. That corresponds well with the idea of a polymerization reaction in the solid state. However, this experiment does not exclude the formation of polyglycolide rings as further product because they do not contain any terminating groups.

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the surfaces of heterogeneous catalysts by in situ IR spectroscopy . Chem Soc Rev 39 12 4951 – 5001 10.1039/C0CS00117A 10.1039/c0cs00117a . 3. Auroux , A 1997

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