Biodegradable Hyperbranched Polymer

Executive Summary

Hyperbranched polymers are attractive due to unique structures, low viscosity, good solubility and a large number of functional end groups. However, because they are non linear polymers, they can be difficult to synthesize to high conversion without gelling. MSU and CMU researchers have developed a new hyperbranched polymer that is biodegradable and can be made at extremely high conversions. The polymer has high levels of end groups of only one type (hydroxyl or acid) which can be further esterified with another chemical without fear of gelation, thus allowing new sustainable applications in agriculture, pharmaceuticals or plastics.


Description of the Technology

This technology involves making liquid hyperbranched polyester polymers using bioderived glycerol and a difunctional acid (e.g. adipic acid and/or succinic acid), wherein an active ingredient is covalently bonded to the polymer end groups. High functional group conversions are obtained (up to 97%) without gelation. The active ingredient can be a variety of chemicals including 2-undecanone, 2-tridecanone, an analgesic, herbicide, plant growth regulator, insect repellant or others and may slowly release over time (days to months). Examples have been demonstrated with attaching salicylic acid and Naproxen to the polymer and measuring release over time demonstrating use as a therapeutic delivery agent. The hyperbranched polymers have also been blended with PVC showing their effectiveness as bio-based plasticizers.



  • High conversion, non gelling high purity hyperbranched polyester with controlled molecular weight
  • Single reactive end group type can be further esterified with another component of interest
  • Uses biobased monomers. Sustainable polymers; biodegradable



  • Biobased polymer plasticizers (e.g. PVC).
  • Biobased polymers for flame retardants
  • Sustainable fertilizer or seed coatings
  • Biocompatible, sustained release of therapeutics


Patent Status

Published US Application


Licensing Rights

Full licensing rights available



Modern Concepts in Material Science, 2021

Medical Research Archives, 2021

Global Journal of Engineering Sciences, 2019

Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 2017

Polymer, 2014



Dr. Patrick B. Smith, Dr. Bobby Howell, Dr. Tracy Zhang




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University