• biopolymers;
  • kinetics;
  • poly(vinyl acetate);
  • RAFT polymerization;
  • reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT);
  • selenium


A cyclic selenium-based reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agent, 5,5-dimethyl-3-phenyl-2-selenoxo-1,3-selenazolidin-4-one (RAFT-Se), was synthesized and utilized in the RAFT polymerizations of vinyl acetate (VAc). Its analog, 5,5-dimethyl-3-phenyl-2-thioxothiazolidin-4-one (RAFT-S), was also used in RAFT polymerizations for comparison under identical conditions. The RAFT polymerizations of VAc with RAFT-Se were moderately controlled evidenced by the increase of molecular weights with conversion, despite the slightly high Mw/Mn (less than 1.90), whereas the molecular weights were poorly controlled in the presence of RAFT-S (2.00 < Mw/Mn < 2.30). Thanks to its unusual cyclic structure of RAFT-Se, one or more RAFT-Se species was incorporated into the resultant poly(VAc) as revealed by the results of cleavage of polymer and atomic absorption spectroscopy. Considering the biorelated functions of both poly(VAc) and Se element, this work undoubtedly provided a successful methodology of how to incorporate high content of Se into a molecular weight controlled poly(VAc). © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013