The preparation of graft copolymers of cellulose and cellulose derivatives using ATRP under homogeneous reaction conditions
In this comprehensive review, we report on the preparation of graft-copolymers of cellulose and cellulose derivatives using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) under homogeneous conditions. The review is divided into four sections according to the cellulosic material that is graft-copolymerised; (i) cellulose, (ii) ethyl cellulose, (iii) hydroxypropyl cellulose and (iv) other cellulose derivatives. In each section, the grafted synthetic polymers are described as well as the methods used for ATRP macro-initiator formation and graft-copolymerisation. The physical properties of the graft-copolymers including their self-assembly in solution into nanostructures and their stimuli responsive behaviour are described. Potential applications of the self-assembled graft copolymers in areas such as nanocontainers for drug delivery are outlined.