[en] Poly( epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) layered silicate nanohybrids were synthesized by ring opening polymerization of epsilon-caprolactone according to a well-controlled coordination-insertion mechanism. Montmorillonites were surface-modified by non functional (trimethylhexadecylammonium) and hydroxy functional alkylammonium cations, i.e., (2-hydroxyethyl) dimethylhexadecylammonium. The hydroxy functions available at the clay surface were activated into tin( II or IV) or Al(III) alkoxide initiators for lactone polymerization, thus yielding surface-grafted PCL chains. The surface-grafted PCL chains were recovered by an ionic exchange reaction with lithium chloride and they were analyzed by size exclusion chromatography. The PCL molar mass was measured as a function of the hydroxy content of the clay that was modulated by exchanging the Na cations with mixtures of non-functional and hydroxy functional ammonium cations of different compositions. Nanohybrids were also characterized by small-angle X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and thermogravimetry. The PCL molar mass and the nanocomposite morphology (i.e., exfoliation and/or intercalation) were readily tuned by the content of the hydroxy groups available at the clay surface. Surface-grafted aluminium trialkoxide species proved highly efficient in initiating polymerization that leads to PCL chains of controlled molar mass and narrow molecular weight distribution with polydispersity indices as low as 1.2.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
The "Région Wallonne" and the "Fonds Social Européen" in the frame of Objectif-1 Hainaut : Materia Nova ; The "Région Wallonne" in the frame of the WDU TECMAVER program ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy