A systematic study of the preparation of N,N-dimethylacrylamide (NDMA)/methacrylic ester statistical copolymers was conducted. The methacrylic ester comonomers used in the copolymerizations were ethyl, n-butyl, n-hexyl, n-octyl, n-dodecyl, n-hexadecyl, and n-octadecyl methacrylates. It was found that the NDMA copolymers could be prepared in three molecular weight regions 1.0 × 104, 2.0 × 105, and greater than 1.0 × 106 ([η] in water at 30°C of 0.1, 0.6, and greater than 1.5 dL/g, respectively). The molecular weights of the copolymers were dependent on the solvent employed in the polymerizations and on the presence of chain transfer agent (t-dodecyl mercaptan). All copolymer compositional analyses were made by 400 MHz1H-NMR spectroscopy. The NDMA/methacrylic ester copolymers decreased the surface tension of water in the order: C4 = C6 > C8 > C12 > C16 > C2 = C18 > P(NDMA), from lowest surface tension (35 dyn/cm) to highest surface tension (59 dyn/cm).
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