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Graft copolymerizaztion of methyl acrylate onto chitosan initiated by potassium diperiodatocuprate (III)



A novel redox system, potassium diperiodatocuprate [Cu (III)–chitosan], was employed to initiate the graft copolymerization of methyl acrylate (MA) onto chitosan in alkali aqueous solution. The effects of reaction variables such as monomer concentration, initiator concentration, pH and temperature were investigated. By means of a series of copolymerization reactions, the grafting conditions were optimized. Cu (III)–chitosan system was found to be an efficient redox initiator for this graft copolymerization. The structures and the thermal stability of chitosan and chitosan-g-poly(methyl acrylate) (PMA) were characterized by infrared spectroscopy (IR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). In this article, a mechanism is proposed to explain the formation of radicals and the initiation. Finally, the graft copolymer was used as the compatibilizer in blends of poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and chitosan. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) photographs and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) thermograms indicate that the graft copolymer improved the compatibility of the blend. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 89: 2283–2289, 2003

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