Alternating copolymerization of ethylene oxide and sulfur dioxide



Copolymerization of ethylene oxide (EO) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) was conducted by using a variety of amines as catalyst. Aromatic tertiary amines such as quinoline and pyridine were found to show the best catalytic property of the various amines, and copolymerization was carried out in the temperature range between 0 and 80°C with the use of quinoline. The copolymerization rate was approximately first-order in quinoline, EO, and also SO2. The copolymer, was always composed of the two monomers: 1:1 ratio, independent of the initial concentration of the monomers. The copolymer obtained was a transparent viscous material which decomposed at 218°C to afford a considerable amount of ethylene sulfite. Spectroscopic analysis of the copolymer combined with the results of elemental analysis indicates the copolymer to have the structure equation image The polymerizability of ethylene sulfite, which might be considered an intermediate compound in the copolymerization, was also examined at 60°C for 4 hr in the presence of quinoline, and it was found that ethylene sulfite could not be polymerized under these conditions.