There is a need for high-performance applications for terephthalic acid (TPA) polyesters with high heat resistance, impact toughness, and optical clarity. Bisphenol A (BPA) based polycarbonates and polyarylates have such properties, but BPA is an endocrine disruptor. Therefore, new TPA polyesters that are less hazardous to health and the environment are becoming popular. Tetramethylcyclobutanediol (TMCD) is a difunctional monomer that can be polymerized with TPA and other diols to yield copolyesters with superior properties to conventional TPA polyesters. It has a cyclobutyl ring that makes it more rigid than cyclohexanedimethanol (CHDM) and EG. Thus, TMCD containing TPA copolyesters can have high heat resistance and impact strength. TPA can be made from abundantly available upcycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Therefore, this review discusses the synthesis of monomers and copolyesters, the impact of diol composition on material properties, molecular weight, effects of photodegradation, health safety, and substitution of cyclobutane diols for future polyesters.
Keywords: copolyesters; cyclohexanedimethanol; ethylene glycol; plastic recycling; polyester; terephthalic acid; tetramethylcyclobutanediol.
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.