, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1279–1293 | Cite as

Direct synthesis of cellulose adipate derivatives using adipic anhydride

  • Haoyu Liu
  • Nilanjana Kar
  • Kevin J. EdgarEmail author
Original Paper


The poor aqueous solubility of many drugs can be overcome by formulation as amorphous solid dispersions (ASD) in cellulosic-based polymer matrices. Cellulose esters containing adipates and other ester groups have shown great promise as new ASD polymers. Previous attempts to synthesize these cellulose adipate esters by direct reaction of cellulose derivatives with adipic anhydride failed due to crosslinking and gelation, caused by formation of poly(adipic anhydride) and subsequent reaction of the poly(anhydride) with cellulosic hydroxyls. In order to develop direct, efficient syntheses of these pH-sensitive cellulose adipate derivatives, we have developed new synthetic procedures that cleanly afford soluble ester products by direct condensation with adipic anhydride, that show no evidence of crosslinking. A series of cellulose ester adipates has been synthesized by this direct route, containing substantial adipate DS (up to 0.53). This new method requires no complex solvents or protective groups, and is an effective and versatile route to these useful materials.

Graphical Abstract

Reaction of cellulose acetate propionate (CAP-504-0.2) with adipic anhydride


Cellulose adipate esters Direct synthesis Adipic anhydride Amorphous solid dispersion 



This project was supported primarily by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF, grant number DMR-0804501). The authors would like to thank the Eastman Chemical Company for their kind donation of the cellulose esters used in this work. We would also like to thank the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute and the Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Science at Virginia Tech for their support, and Tianyu Wu for running the SEC analyses.

Supplementary material

10570_2012_9724_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1001 kb)
Supplementary information available for this paper includes 1H NMR spectra of pure adipic anhydride, CAAdP samples 1 and 3 prior to hot water washing, CAAdP samples 2, 3, and 10, CAAdB samples 13 and 16, and CAAd sample 19. FTIR spectra of CAAdB sample 13 and CAAd sample 17. 13C NMR spectra of CAAdB sample 16 and CAAd sample 17. (DOC 1001 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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