A variety of polymers and copolymers suitable for use as biologically compatible constructs and, as a non-limiting specific example, in the formation of degradable tissue scaffolds as well methods for synthesizing these polymers and copolymers are described. The polymers and copolymers have degradation rates that are substantially faster than those of previously described polymers suitable for the same uses. Copolymers having a synthesis route which enables one to fine tune the degradation rate by selecting the specific stoichiometry of the monomers in the resulting copolymer are also described. The disclosure also provides a novel synthesis route for maleoyl chloride which yields monomers suitable for use in the copolymer synthesis methods described herein.
STATEMENT REGARDING GOVERNMENT FUNDED RESEARCH
 This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The US. Government has certain rights in this invention.