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Fully Degradable Thioester-functional Homo- and Alternating Copolymers Prepared through Thiocarbonyl Addition–Ring-opening RAFT Radical Polymerization

Spick, Matt, Bingham, Nathaniel, Li, Yuman, De Jesus, Janella, Costa, Catia, Bailey, Melanie and Roth, Peter (2020) Fully Degradable Thioester-functional Homo- and Alternating Copolymers Prepared through Thiocarbonyl Addition–Ring-opening RAFT Radical Polymerization Macromolecules.

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Abstract

The radical ring-opening polymerization (RROP) of thionolactones provides access to thioester backbone-functional copolymers but has, to date, only been demonstrated on acrylic copolymers. Herein, the thionolactone dibenzo[c,e]oxepane-5-thione (DOT) was subjected to azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN)-initiated free-radical homopolymerization, which produced a thioester-functional homopolymer with a glass-transition temperature of 95 °C and the ability to degrade exclusively into predetermined small molecules. However, the homopolymerization was impractically slow and precluded the introduction of functionality. Conversely, the reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT)-mediated copolymerization of DOT with N-methylmaleimide (MeMI), N-phenylmaleimide (PhMI), and N-2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorophenylmaleimide (PFPMI) rapidly produced well-defined copolymers with the tendency to form alternating sequences increasing in the order MeMI ≪ PhMI < PFPMI, with estimated reactivity ratios of rDOT = 0.198 and rPFPMI = 0.0078 for the latter system. Interestingly, defects in the alternating structure were more likely caused by (degradable) DOT–DOT sequences rather than (nondegradable) MI–MI sequences, which was confirmed through the paper spray mass spectrometric analysis of the products from aminolytic degradation. Upon the aminolysis of backbone thioesters, maleimide repeating units were ring-opened, forming bisamide structures. Conversely, copolymer degradation through a thiolate did not result in imide substitution but nucleophilic para-fluoro substitution on PFPMI comonomer units, indicating the ability of DOT–MI copolymers to degrade under different conditions and to form differently functional products. The RROP of thionolactones has distinct advantages over the RROP of cyclic ketene acetals and is anticipated to find use in the development of well-defined degradable polymer materials.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Spick, Mattm.spick@surrey.ac.uk
Bingham, Nathanieln.bingham@surrey.ac.uk
Li, Yumanyuman.li@surrey.ac.uk
De Jesus, Janellaj.dejesus@surrey.ac.uk
Costa, Catiac.d.costa@surrey.ac.uk
Bailey, MelanieM.Bailey@surrey.ac.uk
Roth, Peterp.roth@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 6 January 2020
Funders : EPSRC
Grant Title : EPSRC equipment Grant
Copyright Disclaimer : © XXXX American Chemical Society
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 27 Jan 2020 11:33
Last Modified : 27 Jan 2020 11:33
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/853426

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