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Issue 37, 2017
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Design and synthesis of thermoresponsive aliphatic polyethers with a tunable phase transition temperature

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Abstract

This paper describes a comprehensive study of the lower critical solution temperature (LCST)-type thermoresponsive properties of various poly(glycidyl ether) homopolymers with a varying side chain structure, molecular weight, and main chain tacticity, as well as their copolymers with a varying monomer composition and monomer sequence. For the initial screening, we prepared nine kinds of poly(glycidyl ether)s by the phosphazene base-catalyzed ring-opening polymerization of glycidyl methyl ether (MeGE), ethyl glycidyl ether (EtGE), glycidyl isopropyl ether (iPrGE), 2-methoxyethyl glycidyl ether (MeEOGE), 2-ethoxyethyl glycidyl ether (EtEOGE), 2-propoxyethyl glycidyl ether (PrEOGE), 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl glycidyl ether (MeEO2GE), 2-(2-ethoxyethyl)ethyl glycidyl ether (EtEO2GE), and 2-(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethoxy)ethyl glycidyl ether (MeEO3GE). Among them, poly(MeGE), poly(EtGE), poly(MeEOGE), poly(EtEOGE), and poly(MeEO2GE) (Mn = ca. 5000 g mol−1) were found to exhibit a LCST-type phase transition in water at 65.5 °C, 10.3 °C, 91.6 °C, 41.3 °C, and 58.2 °C, respectively. Although the molecular weight and main chain tacticity had little impact on the phase transition temperature, the side chain structure, i.e., the number of oxyethylene units and terminal alkyl groups, significantly affected the transition temperature. The statistical copolymers composed of MeEOGE and EtEOGE revealed that the transition temperature of the polymer can be desirably customized in between those of the homopolymers by varying the monomer composition. On the other hand, we found that the block copolymer composed of MeEOGE and EtEOGE exhibited a complex thermoresponsive behavior due to its ability to form a micellar aggregate.

Graphical abstract: Design and synthesis of thermoresponsive aliphatic polyethers with a tunable phase transition temperature

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Jul 2017, accepted on 17 Aug 2017 and first published on 18 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01238A
Citation: Polym. Chem., 2017,8, 5698-5707
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    Design and synthesis of thermoresponsive aliphatic polyethers with a tunable phase transition temperature

    T. Isono, K. Miyachi, Y. Satoh, S. Sato, T. Kakuchi and T. Satoh, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 5698
    DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01238A

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