Macrolactones and polyesters from ricinoleic acid

Raia Slivniak, Abraham J. Domb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


A systematic study on the synthesis, characterization, and polymerization of ricinoleic acid (RA) lactone is reported. Ricinoleic acid lactones were synthesized by refluxing pure ricinoleic acid in chloroform (10 mg/mL) with dicyclohexylcarbodimide and (dimethylamino)pyridine as catalyst. Purification of RA lactones was performed by silica gel chromatography. The reaction resulted in a 75% yield of ricinoleic acid lactones. IR and NMR analysis confirmed the formation of cyclic compounds. Polymerization of the ricinoleic acid lactones with catalysts commonly used for ring-opening polymerization of lactones, under specific reaction conditions, resulted in oligomers. Copolymerization with lactide (LA) by ring-opening polymerization, using Sn(Oct) as catalyst, yielded copolyesters with molecular weights (Mw) in the range of 5000-16000 and melting temperatures of 100-130 °C for copolymers containing 10-50% w/w ricinoleic acid residues. Degradation studies of the copolymers were performed in 0.1 M phosphate buffer solution, pH 7.4, at 37 °C. P(LA-RA)s with up to 20% w/w RA slowly degraded and released only ∼7% of its lactic acid content after 60 days of study, while pure PLA under similar conditions released more than 20% of its lactic acid content. On the other hand, copolyesters containing more then 20% w/w RA degraded and released lactic acid faster than pure PLA due to the low crystallinity of the copolymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1688
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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