[en] radical polymerization ; atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP)
[en] NiBr2(PPh3)2 has been found to be an efficient catalyst for the ATRP of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and n-butyl acrylate (n-BuA) initiated by an alkyl halide in the absence of any activator (e.g., Lewis acid) at 85 °C. The molecular weight distribution of the poly(meth)acrylates is narrow (Mw/Mn = 1.1−1.4). However, some side reactions (more likely coupling reactions) are observed at high monomer conversions in the case of n-BuA. An excess of PPh3 has proved to increase the polymerization rate of MMA while preserving the control of the molecular parameters. When the catalyst/initiator molar ratio is too small (e.g., 0.05), the polymerization rate decreases, the polydispersity increases, and the initiation is less efficient. α-Acid and α-hydroxyl end groups have been successfully attached to the chains by using functional initiators, such as 2-bromo-2-methylpropionic acid and 2,2‘,2‘ ‘-tribromoethanol. Reactivity ratios for the MMA/n-BuA comonomer pair have been measured and found to be close to the values observed for a conventional free-radical polymerization. Diethyl meso-2,5-dibromoadipate has been used as a difunctional initiator for the n-BuA polymerization, leading to α,ω-bromo-poly(n-BuA) of narrow molecular weight distribution. Finally, the thermal stability of PMMA is consistent with the lack of termination reactions, while Tg is as high as 125 °C.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
Elf Atochem ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy