Synthesis of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) with a Low Molecular Weight and a Low Polydispersity Index by Single-Electron Transfer Living Radical Polymerization

Turan E., Zengin A., Caykara T.

JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART A-POLYMER CHEMISTRY, vol.49, no.23, pp.5116-5123, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The single-electron transfer living radical polymerization (SET-LRP) method in the presence of chain transfer agent was used to synthesize poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)[poly(NIPAM)] with a low molecular weight and a low polydispersity index. This was achieved using Cu(I)/2,2'-bipyridine as the catalyst, 2-bromopropionyl bromide as the initiator, 2-mercaptoethanol as the chain transfer agent (TH), and N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) as the solvent at 90 degrees C. The copper nanoparticles with diameters of 16 +/- 3 nm were obtained in situ by the disproportionation of Cu(I) to Cu(0) and Cu(II) species in DMF at 22 degrees C for 24 h. The molecular weights of poly(NIPAM) produced were significantly higher than the theoretical values, and the polydispersities were less than 1.18. The chain transfer constant (C-tr) was found to be 0.051. Although the kinetic analysis of SET-LRP in the presence of TH corroborated the characteristics of controlled/living polymerization with pseudo-first-order kinetic behavior, the polymerization also exhibited a retardation period (k(p)(app) > k(tr)). The influence of molecular weight on lower critical solution temperature (LCST) was investigated by refractometry. Our experimental results explicitly elucidate that the LCST values increase slightly with decreasing molecular weight. Reversibility of solubility and collapse in response to temperature well correlated with increased molecular weight of poly(NIPAM). (C) 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 49: 5116-5123, 2011