The synthesis of methacrylate esters of 4-cyanophenyl-(4-(ω-hydroxyalkyloxy)) cinnamates, with spacer lengths of 2 and 6 methylene units and the synthesis of the corresponding acrylate ester with a spacer of 2 methylene units are described. The methacrylate monomers were polymerized by free radical polymerization, both as homopolymers and as copolymers with the analogous benzoate monomer of spacer length 6. The acrylate ester could not be polymerized successfully under the same reaction conditions. Polymers were characterized by NMR spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermo-optic observations. Of the monomers prepared, only the cinnamate with a hexamethylene spacer shows a mesophase, seen on supercooling of the melt. All of the polymers prepared were liquid crystalline, with smectic behavior predominating in the polymethacrylates with the longer spacer group. A narrow nematic region is seen just below the clearing temperature with a range of 3–9°C, nematic character is increased in the copolymer series with the degree of incorporation of the cinnamate monomer with the spacer group of length 2.
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