The effect of intramolecular cross links on the mechanochemical fragmentation of polymers in solution†
Addition of intramolecular cross-links to linear polymers significantly improves their resistance to mechanochemical fragmentation, and hence the physical properties of polymer solutions are maintained under shear. However, while fragmentation is suppressed, mechanochemistry of chemical bonds still occurs. In linear polymers, the rate of mechanochemistry has been shown to increase linearly with the degree of polymerisation. Here, we report a systematic study of the mechanochemical fragmentation of a series of polymers with increasing polymer length, linear and intramolecularly collapsed, in order to understand the correlation between destructing and non-damaging mechanochemical events. By comparing the trends of the fragmentation kinetic rate vs. the degree of polymerisation, the effect of intramolecular collapse on fundamental mechanochemistry parameters such as the limiting molecular weight and stabilisation effect can be further understood.