Study on the feasibility of TLC/FID to reveal chemical composition distributions of copolymers obtained by emulsion processes

J.C.J.F. Tacx, A.L. German

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Abstract

The CCD (chemical composition distribution) of poly(styrene-co-ethyl methacrylate) has been determined by thin layer chromatography/flame ionization detection (TLC/FID). It appeared that a mixture of five reference copolymers obtained by solution polymerization each having a narrow CCD, could be separated in five distinct peaks, provided a modified spotting procedure and a concentration gradient elution technique were applied. All copolymers prepared by solution polymerization could be successfully characterized. Copolymers obtained by emulsion techniques using nonionic or anionic surfactants containing oxyethylene groups, or in the absence of chain length modifier behaved anomalously and appeared to have spurious CCD's. Also the average composition calculated from these CCD's did not agree with the average composition determined by 1H-NMR. This anomalous behaviour disappeared when using sodium lauryl sulfate as surfactant or when applying a chain length modifier (n-dodecyl mercaptan) during the preparation of the polymer. Several possibilities have been proposed in order to explain these phenomena. The most probable explanation seems to be reaction of a growing polymer chain with surfactant molecules resulting in a quasi-terpolymer. This polymer containing highly polar oxyethylene groups, remains strongly adsorbed on the silica surface during elution, thus disturbing the separation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-827
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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