The Formation of Glycerol Oligomers with Two New Types of End Groups in the Presence of a Homogeneous Alkaline Catalyst.


Faculty of Chemistry, University of Opole, Oleska 48, 45-052 Opole, Poland. [Email]


The purpose of this work was to synthesize and characterize oligoglycerols with the chains of more than four repeating units. Those oligoglycerols may have some interesting applications, among others, as polyoxyalkylation starters. The glycerol oligomerization process was carried out during 12 h, at 230 °C, under the pressure of 0.4 bar, with the use of sodium carbonate as a homogeneous basic catalyst; various concentrations of the catalyst in the reaction medium were used. The reaction products were analyzed with the use of direct infusion electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) techniques. Based on the analytical findings, the compositions of the obtained product mixtures and the structures of oligoglycerols present in individual fractions were determined. The effect of catalyst concentration on the composition of the post-reaction mixture was observed. Moreover, in addition to the conventional linear oligomers (α,α-oligoglycerols), two new types of the oligomers were for the first time detected in the post-reaction mixture: one with two hydroxyl groups and the other with a carboxylate group at the α-carbon atom.