Amphiphilic Polymer Co-networks From Telechelic Macromonomers Using Thiol–Norbornene Chemistry
Amphiphilic polymeric co-networks (APCNs) incorporate disparate properties into one network, forming novel materials for a variety of applications. A platform that can form APCNs with a variety of compositions was developed using thiol–norbornene chemistry to crosslink telechelic macromonomers with multifunctional thiols. Using thiol–norbornene end-linking chemistry ensured control over the molecular weight between crosslinks, forming more homogeneous networks than those formed by free radical crosslinking reactions. Networks made using the end-linking method were swollen in water and evaluated with a focus on their mechanical properties, measured under tension and compression, and structure, as characterised using small-angle neutron scattering. Dried networks were swollen with organic lithium salt and characterised as solid polymer electrolytes to determine their mechanical properties, conductivity and morphology. Additionally, the thiol–norbornene end-linking was easily adapted to make linear polymers, both amphiphilic multi-block copolymers and linear thioethers that incorporated a variety of precisely placed functional groups in and along the backbone. Overall, the flexibility of the thiol–norbornene end-linking platform allowed for the synthesis of a multitude of APCNs and will likely continue to be exploited in future studies to expand the APCN's composition and material properties.