Atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) of methyl methacrylate (MMA) using CuCl/N,N,N',N' ',N' '',N' ''-hexamethyltriethylenetetramine (HMTETA) as a catalyst system with 2,2,2-trichloroethanol (TCE) as initiator was investigated. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) macroinitiators with defined molecular weight, low polydispersity index (PDI), and a high end-group functionality were obtained. These PMMA macroinitiators successfully initiate block copolymerization of tert-butyl methacrylate (tBMA), resulting in poly(MMA-b-tBMA) diblock copolymers with low PDI for a range of tBMA block lengths. Gradient polymer elution chromatography (GPEC) was used to confirm the block copolymer structure. Furthermore, the effect of molecular weight of the macroinitiator, nature of catalyst system (heterogeneous/homogeneous), and the amount of solvent on the degree of control achieved in the block copolymerization was studied. The GPEC technique was successfully used to demonstrate the effect of the aforementioned parameters on the block copolymer structure. In particular, the use of a homogeneous catalyst system, CuBr/4,4'-di-5-nonyl-2,2'-bipyridine (dNbpy), and a large ratio of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) to PMMA macroinitiator led to the synthesis of well-controlled high molecular weight diblock copolymers. This can be explained by the complete solubility of the Cu(II) complex, the deactivating species in the ATRP mechanism. The use of the dNbpy ligand and the polar solvent (MEK) promotes the homogeneous catalyst conditions. The homogeneous condition leads to efficient activation/deactivation exchange reactions between the growing polymer chains and the dormant polymer chains, resulting in well-controlled block copolymers.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|