Isocyanate-Free Polyurea Synthesis via Ru-Catalyzed Carbene Insertion into the N–H Bonds of Urea

19 October 2022

Illustratie ASC Publication Felix de Zwart

Felix de Zwart (UvA) his work on making isocyanate-free polyureas through a Ru-catalyzed approach was published in Macromolecules!


Polyureas have widespread applications due to their unique material properties. Because of the toxicity of isocyanates, sustainable isocyanate-free routes to prepare polyureas are a field of active research. Current routes to isocyanate-free polyureas focus on constructing the urea moiety in the final polymerizing step. In this study we present a new isocyanate-free method to produce polyureas by Ru-catalyzed carbene insertion into the N–H bonds of urea itself in combination with a series of bis-diazo compounds as carbene precursors. The mechanism was investigated by kinetics and DFT studies, revealing the rate-determining step to be nucleophilic attack on a Ru–carbene moiety by urea. This study paves the way to use transition-metal-catalyzed reactions in alternative routes to polyureas. Read more