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Synthesis and characterization of well-defined block and statistical copolymers based on lauryl methacrylate and 2-(acetoacetoxy)ethyl methacrylate using RAFT-controlled radical polymerization

Authors

  • Maria Demetriou,

    1. Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Cyprus, P. O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
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  • Theodora Krasia-Christoforou

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Cyprus, P. O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
    • Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Cyprus, P. O. Box 20537, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
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Abstract

Four well-defined diblock copolymers and one statistical copolymer based on lauryl methacrylate (LauMA) and 2-(acetoacetoxy)ethyl methacrylate (AEMA) were prepared using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The polymers were characterized in terms of molecular weights, polydispersity indices (ranging between 1.12 and 1.23) and compositions by size exclusion chromatography and 1H NMR spectroscopy, respectively. The preparation of the block copolymers was accomplished following a two-step methodology: First, well-defined LauMA homopolymers were prepared by RAFT using cumyl dithiobenzoate as the chain transfer agent (CTA). Kinetic studies revealed that the polymerization of LauMA followed first-order kinetics demonstrating the “livingness” of the RAFT process. The pLauMAs were subsequently used as macro-CTA for the polymerization of AEMA. The glass transition (Tg) and decomposition temperatures (ranging between 200 and 300 °C) of the copolymers were determined using differential scanning calorimetry and thermal gravimetric analysis, respectively. The Tgs of the LauMA homopolymers were found to be around −53 °C. Block copolymers exhibited two Tgs suggesting microphase separation in the bulk whereas the statistical copolymer presented a single Tg as expected. Furthermore, the micellization behavior of pLauMA-b-pAEMA block copolymers was investigated in n-hexane, a selective solvent for the LauMA block, using dynamic light scattering. pLauMA-b-pAEMA block copolymers formed spherical micelles in dilute hexane solutions with hydrodynamic diameters ranging between 30 and 50 nm. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 46: 5442–5451, 2008

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