Philippe ZINCK


Full Professor – Catalysis and macromolecular engineering.


33e section du CNU


UCCS, ENSCL, Bât. C7, Université de Lille 1

Cité Scientifique, 59652 Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex


Tel : 03 20 43 68 70

Fax : 03 20 43 65 85


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{{Research interests }}


Coordinative chain transfer polymerization (CCTP)


The principle of CCTP is to allow a growing macromolecular chain to transmetallate from a transition metal based catalyst to a main group metal based chain transfer agent. CCTP opens to way to a large array of applications useful for the synthetic chemist that includes not only molecular weight control, atom economy and polymer functionalization, but also the control and design of polymer microstructure. While exploring this fascinating area of polymerization catalysis, we discovered that CCTP affords fine control over the microstructure of polydienes, and that it can be considered as new concept for the control of the composition of statistical copolymers. The concepts were recently extended to the statistical copolymerization of conjugated dienes, to terpolymerizations and to a biobased conjugated diene, myrcene.







We also extended the chain shuttling copolymerization approach discovered by researchers of the Dow Chemical Co. to the synthesis of a new family of thermoplastic elastomers. These unique materials exhibit a fully amorphous multiblock microstructure of soft and hard segments. The composition of the blocks and the resulting glass transition temperatures can be easily tuned by changing the feed and/or the relative amount of the catalysts,


Organocatalysis for the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters and their functionalization with carbohydrates and biomolecules



Biodegradable polyesters based notably on renewable resources are used in biomedical areas and for consumer goods and packaging applications. Metal mediated polymerizations can lead to the presence of residual metal traces in the material, which can be detrimental for the targeted applications. This can be circumvented by the use of organic molecules as polymerization catalysts. We reported recently in this frame the use of a binol derived phosphoric acid (binaphthyl-diyl hydrogen phosphate) as catalyst for the controlled ring-opening polymerization of lactones in mild conditions, as well as the controlled ring-opening polymerization of lactide using various bifunctional acid/base combinations. In particular, we assessed acid base equilibria involving two bases as catalytic systems, which led to increased activities, a better control of the molecular weight and prevent form undesirable transesterification reactions.



The functionalization of aliphatic polyesters with carbohydrates is an important strategy to tailor their properties while keeping a biocompatible character. We discovered new reactivities in this field using both well known, readily available and new, home-made organocatalysts for the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters. The resulting macromolecular objects have shown promising potential in materials science and pharmaceuticals.


We also reported the quantitative polymerization of -caprolactone in water using various Brönsted acids as organocatalysts. The approach was further conducted in the presence of water-soluble polysaccharides, enabling an easy, mild and one-step access to poly(-caprolactone)-graft-dextran and poly(-caprolactone)-graft-methylcellulose copolymers.


Nucleobase-functionalized polymers are widely used in the fields of supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly,and their development for biomedical applications is also an area of interest. They are usually synthesized by tedious multistep procedures. We have shown that L-Lactide can be quantitatively polymerized in the presence of adenine. Reaction conditions involving short reaction times and relatively low temperatures enable the access to adenine end-capped polylactide in a simple one-step procedure, in bulk, without additional catalyst, which is promising for biomedical applications. DFT calculations show that the polymerization occurs via hydrogen bond catalysis.



polylactide in a simple one-step procedure, in bulk, without additional catalyst, which is promising for biomedical applications. DFT calculations show that the polymerization occurs via hydrogen bond catalysis.





{{Teaching activities}}


Chemical Engineering and Biobased Polymers at the Chemistry Department of the Institute of Technology of the University of Lille




{{Affiliations, activities}}


SFC - Société Française de Chimie (North Section Board)

GFP - Groupe Français des Polymères (North Section Board)

MCFA – Marie Curie Fellowship Association (Advisory Board)

IUPAC – International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

IFMAS – French Institute of Biobased Materials (partial commitment – Member Associated to the Strategic Board)



{{Editorial activity}}


Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology (Springer – IF = 4.35) – Science Career Editor

Frontiers in Chemistry, Section Polymer Chemistry

Mediterranean Journal of Chemistry

The Open Access Journal of Science and Technology, Section Biopolymers

American Journal of Polymer Science and Technology




{{Recent book chapters}}


Y. Miao, A. Mortreux, P. Zinck

Polyesters functionalized carbohydrates via organocatalyzed ring-opening polymerization

Chapter 15 in Carbohydrates Chemistry Vol. 40, 2014, pp. 298–311, Royal Society of Chemistry


T. Chenal, M. Visseaux, P. Zinck

Coordinative chain transfer polymerization and copolymerization by means of rare earths organometallic catalysts for the synthesis of tailor made polymers

Chapter 27 in Advances in Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis: The Silver/Gold Jubilee International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry Celebratory Book, 1st Edition, 2014, pp. 345-358, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

{{Our funders and ongoing projects}}



   Interreg Elasto-plast                                                                                             Interreg ALPO


Project devoted to thermoplastics elastomers, with notably the development          Development of polymeric materials based on microalgae

of second generation thermoplastic elastomers via chain shuttling                         Partners : University of Mons, University of Ghent, KU Leuven

polymerization.Partners : CentexBel, Materia Nova (Mons), KU Leuven Campus               Campus Kulak (Courtrai),

Kulak (Courtrai),                                                                                                                                  AgroParisTech Reims, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne,

University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), , IMT Lille Douai, Pôle de         Pole de compétitivité

compétitivité PlastiWin (Liège), UP-tex (Tourcoing), Matikem                                Aquimer (Boulogne-sur-Mer), GreenWin (Charleroi), IAR (Laon), PC Groenteteelt

(Villeneuve d'Ascq),                                                                                           (Kruishoutem), POM West-Vlaanderen (Bruges).

Materiala (Charleville-Mézières).


More details here:                                                                                                                             More details here:                                                                    


   Both projects belong to the Portofolio GoToS3 :