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Issue 44, 2017
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Synthesis of ultra-high molecular weight ABA triblock copolymers via aqueous RAFT-mediated gel polymerisation, end group modification and chain coupling

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Abstract

The synthesis of ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polymers using reversible deactivation radical polymerisation techniques remains a challenge and has been the centre of attention only in a limited number of studies. Although UHMW polymers were synthesised in these research studies, the complexity in architecture has mainly been limited to linear homopolymers and AB diblock copolymers. We hereby report a new pathway to synthesise UHMW ABA triblock copolymers using a combination of reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerisation, end-group modification by aminolysis and chain coupling. A simple aqueous RAFT-mediated gel polymerisation technique was initially employed to synthesise high molecular weight AB diblock copolymers with low dispersities (Đ < 1.50). The use of the said gel polymerisation method in combination with a redox initiation system allowed for the rapid chain propagation of water-soluble monomers at a low reaction temperature of 20 °C. These polymers were subsequently treated by aminolysis to convert the chain end into a thiol functionality, which spontaneously coupled under oxidative conditions to form a disulfide bridge between the AB diblock copolymers to produce the final UHMW ABA triblock copolymers (Mn,SEC > 1000k; Đ < 1.70).

Graphical abstract: Synthesis of ultra-high molecular weight ABA triblock copolymers via aqueous RAFT-mediated gel polymerisation, end group modification and chain coupling

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Aug 2017, accepted on 18 Oct 2017 and first published on 18 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01410D
Polym. Chem., 2017,8, 6834-6843

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    Synthesis of ultra-high molecular weight ABA triblock copolymers via aqueous RAFT-mediated gel polymerisation, end group modification and chain coupling

    V. H. Dao, N. R. Cameron and K. Saito, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 6834
    DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01410D

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