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Issue 12, 2014
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Geomimetics for green polymer synthesis: highly ordered polyimides via hydrothermal techniques

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Abstract

Inspired by geological ore formation processes, we apply one-step hydrothermal (HT) polymerization to the toughest existing high-performance polymer, poly(p-phenyl pyromellitimide) (PPPI). We obtain highly-ordered and fully imidized PPPI as crystalline flakes and flowers on the micrometer scale. In contrast to classical 2-step procedures that require long reaction times and toxic solvents and catalysts, HT polymerization allows for full conversion in only 1 h at 200 °C, in nothing but hot water. Investigation of the crystal growth mechanism via scanning electron microscopy (SEM) suggests that PPPI aggregates form via a dissolution–polymerization–crystallization process, which is uniquely facilitated by the reaction conditions in the HT regime. A conventionally prefabricated polyimide did not recrystallize hydrothermally, indicating that the HT polymerization and crystallization occur simultaneously. The obtained material shows excellent crystallinity and remarkable thermal stability (600 °C under N2) that stem from a combination of a strong, covalent polymer backbone and interchain hydrogen bonding.

Graphical abstract: Geomimetics for green polymer synthesis: highly ordered polyimides via hydrothermal techniques

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Article information


Submitted
20 Feb 2014
Accepted
27 Mar 2014
First published
02 May 2014

Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 3771-3776
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Geomimetics for green polymer synthesis: highly ordered polyimides via hydrothermal techniques

B. Baumgartner, M. J. Bojdys and M. M. Unterlass, Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 3771
DOI: 10.1039/C4PY00263F

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