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Title: Efficient metal-free strategies for polymerization of a sterically hindered ionic monomer through the application of hard confinement and high pressure
Authors: Maksym, Paulina
Tarnacka, Magdalena
Dzienia, Andrzej
Wolnica, Kamila
Dulski, Mateusz
Erfurt, Karol
Chrobok, Anna
Zięba, Andrzej
Brzózka, Agnieszka
Sulka, Grzegorz
Bielas, Rafał
Kamiński, Kamil
Paluch, Marian
Keywords: polymerization; metal-free strategies
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: RSC Advances, Vol. 9 (2019), s. 6396-6408
Abstract: In this paper, we have studied the effect of both hard confinement (nanoporous membranes treated as nanoreactors) and high pressure (compression of system) on the progress of free-radical (FRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerizations of selected hardly polymerizable, sterically hindered imidazolium-based ionic monomer 1-octyl-3-vinylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide ([OVIM][NTf2]). These two innovative approaches, affecting (in a different way) the free volume of the polymerizing system, allows the reduction of the number of toxic substrates/catalysts, satisfying the requirement of green chemistry. It was found that at both conditions (high compression and confinement) the polymerizability of monomer, as well as the control over the reaction and the properties of the produced polyelectrolytes, have increased significantly. However, it should be added that there were noticeable differences between FRP carried out under confinement and at high pressures. Interestingly, by appropriate variation in thermodynamic conditions, it was possible to synthesize polymers of moderate molecular weight (Mn 58 kg mol 1) and relatively low dispersity (Đ 1.7); while for the reaction performed within AAO pores of varying diameter (d ¼ 35 nm and d ¼ 150 nm), macromolecules of higher Mn but slightly broader dispersity indices (Đ 2.2–2.7) were recovered. On the other hand, RAFT polymerization carried out under confinement and at elevated pressures yielded polymers with well-defined properties. Noteworthy is also the fact that nanopolymerization leads to polymers of comparable Mn to those obtained at high-pressure studies but at significantly shorter reaction time (t 2 hours). We believe that the presented data clearly demonstrated that both examined approaches (the compression and application of alumina templates, treated as nanoreactors) could be successfully used as additional driving forces to polymerize sterically hindered monomers and produce well-defined polymers in relatively short times. At the same time, it should be mentioned that both proposed polymerization methods enabled us to omit the addition of metal-based initiators/catalysts, which seem to be a crucial step towards further development of the alternative green synthesis of polyelectrolytes in the future.
DOI: 10.1039/c8ra09242g
ISSN: 2046-2069
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