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Issue 8, 2011
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Mechanistic study of hydrothermal synthesis of aromatic polyimides

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A mechanistic study regarding the synthesis of aromatic polyimides (PIs) under hydrothermal conditions is presented. We demonstrate evidence that the first step of the reaction is the formation of a nylon type salt, which can be isolated. Upon heating the salt in the presence of water at 180 °C, polyimides are formed from the salts. Additionally performed DFT calculations substantiate the experimental findings and give evidence that the formation of imides is energetically favorable in hot water. The intermediate salts as well as the resulting PIs are characterized by diverse analytical techniques (SEC, FT-IR, WAXS, SEM). By selective fractionation, it is possible to obtain polyimides of moderate to high molecular weights that form tough films. The polymerization mechanism is discussed, and it is shown that different loci of reaction are possible, namely interfacial polycondensation, heterophase polymerization and topochemical transformations, which seem to occur in parallel. Finally, poloxamers can be used as additives for the fine-tuning of the polymer morphology.

Graphical abstract: Mechanistic study of hydrothermal synthesis of aromatic polyimides

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Mar 2011, accepted on 08 May 2011 and first published on 31 May 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00109D
Citation: Polym. Chem., 2011,2, 1744-1753

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    Mechanistic study of hydrothermal synthesis of aromatic polyimides

    M. M. Unterlass, D. Kopetzki, M. Antonietti and J. Weber, Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1744
    DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00109D

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