Chain-end modification of living anionic polybutadiene with diphenylethylenes and styrenes

E.H.D. Donkers, R.X.E. Willemse, B. Klumperman

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The first step in the transformation of poly(butadienyl)lithium into a macromolecular atom transfer radical polymerization initiator or reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer agent is the modification of the anionic chain end into a suitable leaving/reinitiating group. We have investigated three different modification reactions to obtain a styrenic end group at the chain end of poly(butadienyl)lithium. In all cases, we have looked at the influence of a Lewis base on the progress of the reaction. The first modification reaction with -methylstyrene leads to partial functionalization and oligomerization. The second reaction with 1,2-diphenylethylenes, particularly trans-stilbene, results in monoaddition to the poly(butadienyl)lithium chain ends. Quantitative functionalization is not obtained, possibly because of a hydrogen abstraction reaction, which causes termination. In the third modification reaction, a small polystyrene block is successfully added to the chain ends, as shown by a detailed matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis of the block copolymers. Nearly quantitative block copolymer formation is achieved, with an average styrene block size of four monomer units and a polydispersity index of 1.19 for the polystyrene block. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 43: 2536-2545, 2005
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2536-2545
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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