Alternating aliphatic polyketones, produced by co- and terpolymerization of carbon monoxide and olefins (mixtures of ethylene and propylene) using palladium-based homogeneous catalysis represent a very promising class of polymers for a wide range of applications. Besides many interesting chemical and physical properties, alternating polyketones can act as excellent precursors for the preparation of functional polymers upon chemical modifications due to the presence of highly reactive carbonyl groups along the backbone. The most interesting reaction route is the Paal-Knorr reaction (i.e. the 1,4-di-carbonyl moiety of the polyketones reacts with a primary amine function yielding a pyrrole unit), since this reaction can be accomplished at mild conditions without the need of any catalysts and organic solvent. By using this route, a great variety of functional groups can be attached to the backbone of the polyketones. This could open up pathways to new chemical products and lead to the discovery and development of new applications for alternating polyketones. In this thesis, the works were carried out within several research disciplines and covers the full pathway from molecular design to product development. Many new chemical products based on the polyketones have been developed with good performance as follows: (i) polymeric surfactants; (ii) water borne formaldehyde-free wood adhesives; (iii) thermally self–healing polymeric materials; (iv) polymeric interlinkers for carbon nanotubes; (v) new biomaterials for controlling cell behaviour.
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