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A computational study on the reactivity enhancement in the free radical polymerization of alkyl α-hydroxymethacrylate and acrylate derivatives



The free radical polimerizability behavior of alkyl α-hydroxymethacrylate (RHMA) derivatives (M1–M3) has been modeled by considering the propagation of the dimeric units of the compounds of interest. All the transition structures in this class of monomers are stabilized by long-range C[DOUBLE BOND]O…H[BOND]C interactions. The RHMA monomer bearing the ester functionality (M2) polymerizes slightly faster than the one with the ether functionality (M1) because of stronger electrostatic interactions between the C[DOUBLE BOND]O and H[BOND]C groups. 2-(Methoxycarbonyl)allyl benzoate (M3) shows higher reactivity as compared to M1 and M2 due to stronger electrostatic interactions. The same type of study has been carried out for hexyl (M4), benzyl (M5), and phenyl (M6) acrylate derivatives whose increasing reactivity has been attributed to the presence of C[DOUBLE BOND]O…H[BOND]C, C[DOUBLE BOND]O…H-ϕ as well as π–π stabilizing interactions, respectively. While B3LYP/6-31+G(d) has been used to locate the stationary points along the free radical polymerization of nonaromatic species, long-range stabilizing interactions have only been detected with M06-2X/6-31+G(d). The kinetics that we obtain with this latter methodology for the free radical polymerization reactions of M1M6 agree well qualitatively with experiment. An implicit solvent model has reproduced the kinetics of M1–M3 in benzene the best. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013

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