Water as a monomer: synthesis of an aliphatic polyethersulfone from divinyl sulfone and water†
Using water as a monomer in polymerization reactions presents a unique and exquisite strategy towards more sustainable chemistry. Herein, the feasibility thereof is demonstrated by the introduction of the oxa-Michael polyaddition of water and divinyl sulfone. Upon nucleophilic or base catalysis, the corresponding aliphatic polyethersulfone is obtained in an interfacial polymerization at room temperature in high yield (>97%) within an hour. The polyethersulfone is characterized by relatively high molar mass averages and a dispersity around 2.5. The polymer was tested as a solid polymer electrolyte with lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (LiTFSI) as the salt. Free-standing amorphous membranes were prepared by a melt process in a solvent-free manner. The polymer electrolyte containing 15 wt% LiTFSI featured an oxidative stability of up to 5.5 V vs. Li/Li+ at 45 °C and a conductivity of 1.45 × 10−8 S cm−1 at room temperature.