Living cationic polymerization and polyhomologation: an ideal combination to synthesize functionalized polyethylene–polyisobutylene block copolymers†
A series of hydroxyl-terminated polyisobutylene-b-polyethylene (PIB-b-PE-OH) copolymers were synthesized by combining living cationic polymerization and polyhomologation. Allyl-terminated PIBs, synthesized by living cationic polymerization, were hydroborated with BH3·THF to produce 3-arm boron-linked stars, PIB3B, which served as macroinitiators for the in situ polyhomologation of dimethylsulfoxonium methylide. The resulting 3-arm star block copolymers, (PIB-b-PE)3B, were oxidized/hydrolysed to afford PIB-b-PE-OH. Characterization of all intermediates and final products by high temperature gel permeation chromatography (HT-GPC) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR) revealed the well-defined character of the copolymers. The thermal properties of the copolymers were studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).