Submitted by Abby O'Connor / The College of New Jersey on Fri, 01/27/2017 - 13:37
My Notes

This is a literature assignment for a junior/senior level course. Guiding questions are provided to assist students with reading the article so that they see the value and importance of developing catalysts for polymerization reactions. This assignment is based upon the article 

Redox-Controlled Polymerization of Lactide Catalyzed by Bis(imino)pyridine Iron Bis(alkoxide) Complexes

Ashley B. Biernesser, Bo Li, and Jeffery A. Byers

Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013 135 (44), 16553-16560

DOI: http://dx/doi/org/10.1021/ja407920d


This paper includes topics related to sustainable polymers and catalysts. This is an excellent article that ties in the concepts of organometallic synthesis and characterization,catalysis, mechanistic studies and polymer chemistry. An LO for faculty looking to incorporate polymer chemistry into the inorganic curriculum, in light of the ACS standards for certification. 
Learning Goals

After completing this exercise, students should be able to:

  • Define basic terms used to describe polymerization reactions;

  • Differentiate between living polymerizations and other types of polymerization reactions;

  • Describe why the polymerization of lactic acid is important;

  • Explain how the bis(imino)pyridyl iron complex catalyzes the polymerization reaction;

  • Contrast characteristics of NMR spectra for paramagnetic complexes to those of typical diamagnetic complexes;

  • Explain how the evidence presented in the article supports the suggested mechanism;

  • Describe how the oxidation state of the iron center is critical for catalytic activity.
Implementation Notes

I plan to implement this during my junior/senior level inorganic course this semester. I will assign the questions and article to the students before lecture. The students will work in groups of about 4 to answer the questions before coming to class. We then will have an active discussion about the article and the questions. I will use this to help the students to start to build guiding questions for an article they are interested in studying more. 


Time Required
1 hour
Evaluation Methods

Since this assignment has not been implemented, I am still determining the evaluation method. I plan to grade on accuracy of the answers and class participation. I will be most interested in making sure the students can see the big picture with the chemistry and also apply the materials we cover in class on NMR, CBC and electron counting, and catalysis. 

Evaluation Results

not applicable. will update when this has been implemented :) 

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA