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Tugrul Cem Bicak

Speaker for catalysis 2017 - Tugrul Cem Bicak

Title: Polymerization of aniline derivatives catalysed by Cupper (II) species in the presence of air oxygen

Tugrul Cem Bicak

University of Strathclyde, Scotland


After graduation from environmental engineering department at Istanbul Technical University, Tugrul Cem Bıçak started his master studies on photoresponsive polymers in the department of Chemistry at Boğaziçi University. During this period, he also worked on antibacterial polymers and he won entrepreneurship funding with this project. Later on, he worked with Professor Yusuf Yagci at Istanbul Technical University on the polymerization of aniline derivatives. Currently, he is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie early stage researcher at the University of Strathclyde in the department of Pure and Applied Chemistry.


Polymerization of aniline dates back to nineteenth century. Since then, polyaniline (PANI) had became one of the most important polymer both academically and for industry because of its unique preperties. The color of the aniline polymer varies from dark green to black and this is the reason why it is termed as “aniline black” in industry. The aniline black has been extensively used as shoe polish material and colorant for cotton textiles. Continued investigations showed that PANI is able to conduct electricity and among other conducting polymers such as; polypyrrole, polythiophene, and polyacetylene, it gained more importance due to its easy synthesis. Conventional methods for polyaniline (PANI) synthesis include the use of excess amount of strong oxidants such as ammonium persulphate and iron (III) salts. Recently, it is demonstrated that aniline can also be polymerised by using catalytic amount of Cu(II) salts in the presence of air oxygen. The polymer obtained by this method is highly soluble in organic solvents which makes its processability easier. The same procedure can also be applied to other substituted aniline derivatives which have a great potantial in biosensor applications. In this study, we have demostrated the synthesis of poly ortho aminophenol catalysed by cupper (II) salts in the presence of air oxygen. Then, we have developed a new approach for the facile preperation of PANI-g-PEG by combination of oxidative polymerization and CuAAC click chemistry. It includes the reduction of Cu(II) salt for oxidative copolymerization of aniline derivatives (aniline and propargyl aniline) and “click” grafting of azide functional poly ethylene glycohol, catalyzed by the generated Cu(I) species thereof. 

Audience Take away:

•    A brief history of PANI and its importance in industry.
•    Conventional synthesis of PANI derivatives.
•    A new catalytic approach for the synthesis of polyaniline (PANI) derivatives.
•    Application of this method to poly o-aminophenol synthesis.
•    Combination of CuAAC Click Chemistry with oxidative polymerization.