Bromoform-assisted aqueous free radical polymerisation: a simple, inexpensive route for the preparation of block copolymers


In the quest for commercially relevant block copolymer additives, for which overall average molecular composition is key but molar mass distribution is of little importance, we present a straightforward, sulfur- and metal-free aqueous route to block copolymers using commercially available starting materials. Based on synthetic techniques first described in the 1950s for hydrophobic monomers in organic solvents, we have shown that bromoform (CHBr3) can be used to create block copolymers. Unlike common bromine-containing chain transfer agents such as carbon tetrabromide (CBr4), bromoform is partially water-miscible and relatively inexpensive. Herein, we demonstrate this new aqueous-based technology using N,N-dimethylacrylamide (DMA) and N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) as exemplar monomers to synthesise PDMA-b-PNIPAM block copolymers of varying composition directly in water. This study demonstrates the potential for such a simple, inexpensive route to functional block copolymers where further research to decipher the detailed mechanism and true potential of this technique will be of great value.

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Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Polymer Research Group
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 871650 (MEDIPOL)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bioengineering,Biochemistry,Organic Chemistry,Polymers and Plastics
Publication ISSN: 1759-9962
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2024 07:29
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 13:55
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PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-08-14
Published Online Date: 2021-07-13
Accepted Date: 2021-07-12
Authors: Hutchins, Helena
Derry, Matthew (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5010-6725)
Ninjiaranai, Padarat
Molloy, Robert
Tighe, Brian (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-9601-8501)
Topham, Paul (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4152-6976)



Version: Accepted Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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