Synthesis of densely-branched poly(methyl methacrylate)s via ATR copolymerisation of methyl methacrylate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate

Bouhier, Marc-Henri and Cormack, Peter A.G. and Graham, Susan and Sherrington, David C. (2007) Synthesis of densely-branched poly(methyl methacrylate)s via ATR copolymerisation of methyl methacrylate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 45 (12). pp. 2375-2386. ISSN 0887-624X

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Abstract

Densely branched poly(methyl methacrylate)s have been synthesized by copolymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) using atom transfer free radical polymerization (ATRP). By employing the phenyl and benzyl esters of 2-bromo-2-methylpropionic acid as the initiators with 2,2-bipyridyl and Cu(I)Cl it has been possible to use high field 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate in some detail the composition and structure of the branched PMMAs obtained. Parallel molar mass size exclusion chromatographic analysis using a multi-angle light scattering detector with a refractive index detector (MALS/SEC) has allowed the branched architecture of the products to be confirmed. Rather remarkably, high yields of branched PMMAs can be obtained without crosslinking using MMA/EGDMA molar feed ratios of up to 5/1 by appropriate adjustment of the molar feed of initiator. In particular by maintaining the EGDMA/initiator molar feed ratio ∼1/1 fully soluble products can be obtained that are densely branched since this feed ratio ensures that on average each living primary chain initiated contains on average only one branching EGDMA segment. As might be expected this controlled free radical process offers better control in the synthesis of branched polymer than the corresponding system we have reported using conventional free radical polymerization, and unlike the latter which requires the use of a chain transfer agent, the ATRP system requires no additional chain regulating component.