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Synthesis of cellulose benzoates under homogeneous conditions in an ionic liquid

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The ionic liquid 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (AmimCl) as a reaction medium was studied for the synthesis of cellulose benzoates by homogeneous acylation of dissolved cellulose with benzoyl chlorides in the absence of any catalysts. Cellulose benzoates with a degree of substitution (DS) in the range from about 1 to 3.0 were accessible under mild conditions. The DS of cellulose derivatives increased with the increase of the molar ratio of benzoyl chloride/anhydroglucose unit (AGU) in cellulose, reaction time, and reaction temperature. Benzoylation of cellulose with some 4-substituted benzoyl chlorides including 4-toluoyl chloride, 4-chlorobenzoyl chloride and 4-nitrobenzoyl chloride was also readily carried out under mild conditions. Furthermore, regioselectively substituted mixed cellulose esters were synthesized in this work. All products were characterized by means of FT-IR, 1H-NMR, and 13C-NMR spectroscopy. In addition, at the end of benzoylation of cellulose, the ionic liquid AmimCl was easily recycled. When the recycled AmimCl was used as the reaction media, the cellulose benzoate with a similar DS was obtained under comparable reaction conditions.

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The authors thank the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2004CB719701) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Jun Zhang.

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Zhang, J., Wu, J., Cao, Y. et al. Synthesis of cellulose benzoates under homogeneous conditions in an ionic liquid. Cellulose 16, 299–308 (2009).

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