Synthesis of poly(propylene fumarate)
This protocol describes the synthesis of 500–4,000 Da poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) by a two-step reaction of diethyl fumarate and propylene glycol through a bis(hydroxypropyl) fumarate diester intermediate. Purified PPF can be covalently cross-linked to form degradable polymer networks, which have been widely explored for biomedical applications. The properties of cross-linked PPF networks depend upon the molecular properties of the constituent polymer, such as the molecular weight. The purity of the reactants and the exclusion of water from the reaction system are of utmost importance in the generation of high-molecular-weight PPF products. Additionally, the reaction time and temperature influence the molecular weight of the PPF product. The expected time required to complete this protocol is 3 d.