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Keywords:

  • cationic polymerization;
  • curing of polymers;
  • epoxides;
  • initiators;
  • redox initiator;
  • ring-opening polymerization;
  • silanes

Abstract

A novel catalytic method for carrying out the cationic polymerizations has been developed based on a redox initiator system in which the reducing component is delivered to the reaction mixture in the vapor state. The redox couple consists of a diaryliodonium salt that is dissolved in the monomer and a noble metal catalyst is added. The silane reducing agent is introduced to the reaction mixture in the vapor state using air as the carrier gas. Reduction of the diaryliodonium salt by the silane results in the liberation of a Brønsted superacid that initiates cationic polymerizations. A study of the effects of variations in the structures of the diaryliodonium salt, the silane, and the type of noble metal catalyst was carried out. In principle, the initiator system is applicable to all types of cationically polymerizable monomers and oligomers including: the ring-opening polymerizations of such heterocyclic monomers as epoxides and oxetanes and, in addition, the polymerization of vinyl ether monomers such as vinyl ethers. The use of this initiator system for carrying out commercially attractive cross-linking polymerizations for coatings, composites, and encapsulations is discussed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 47: 1825–1835, 2009