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Polymers 2018, 10(1), 80; doi:10.3390/polym10010080

Accurately Determining the Extent of Coupling in Post Polymerization Reactions of Polystyrene

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Living Polymerization)
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Polymers prepared by controlled radical polymerization (CRP) can be employed in subsequent chain-end joining reactions, yet accurately assessing the extent of coupling in mechanistically unique paths is not straightforward. Precisely known mixtures of polystyrene standards were prepared and analyzed by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), mimicking the coupled product and precursor that could be present after a post-polymerization, chain-end joining reaction. The exactly known percentages of each polymer in the mixture allowed for comparison of the true “extent of coupling” (Xc) to that determined by a commonly used equation, which is based on number average molecular weights (Mn) of the precursor and coupled product. The results indicated that an improvement in accuracy could be achieved by instead using refractive index (RI) signal height ratios under the peak molecular weight (Mp) of each component, with all calculations being within 0.05 of the true Xc of the fabricated “product” mixture (compared to greater than 0.10 average error using the more established method) when the sample mixture had nominal molecular weights of 2500 and 5000 Da. Moreover, when “precursor” and “coupled” pairs mixed were not related as a simple doubling of molecular weight, the calculation method presented here remained effective at determining the content of the mixture, especially at higher Xc values (>0.45). This second case is important for experiments that may link polymer chains together with a spacer, such as a radical trap, a triazole, or even larger structure such as an oligomer. View Full-Text
Keywords: ATRP; gel permeation chromatography; polystyrene ATRP; gel permeation chromatography; polystyrene

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pan, C.; Tillman, E. Accurately Determining the Extent of Coupling in Post Polymerization Reactions of Polystyrene. Polymers 2018, 10, 80.

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