A bio-based route to the production of trans-β-farnesene has recently been commercialized. Trans-β-farnesene is capable of being polymerized by both anionic and cationic pathways, creating low molecular weight polymers with structure–property relationships unique within the diene class of monomers. Trans-β-farnesene is produced through fermentation of sugar feedstocks. The pathway offers an alternative to petroleum-based feedstocks derived as by-products of naphtha or ethane cracking. Anionic polymerization of the monomer produces a highly branched “bottlebrush” structure, with rheological properties that are markedly different than those of linear diene polymers. Specifically, a lack of entanglements is observed even at relatively high molar masses. For hydroxyl-terminated oligomers, Tg as a function of molar mass follows a trend opposite non-functional materials. The synthesis and characterization of trans-β-farnesene–based polymers will be presented, including anionically prepared low molecular weight diols and monols.

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