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Polymers 2011, 3(3), 1398-1422; doi:10.3390/polym3031398

Synthesis of Stimuli-responsive, Water-soluble Poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate/styrene] Statistical Copolymers by Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization

Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, 3610 University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 2B2, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 July 2011 / Revised: 15 August 2011 / Accepted: 25 August 2011 / Published: 26 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Soluble Polymers)
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2-(Dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate/styrene statistical copolymers (poly(DMAEMA-stat-styrene)) with feed compositions fDMAEMA = 80–95 mol%, (number average molecular weights Mn = 9.5–11.2 kg mol−1) were synthesized using succinimidyl ester-functionalized BlocBuilder alkoxyamine initiator at 80 °C in bulk. Polymerization rate increased three-fold on increasing fDMAEMA = 80 to 95 mol%. Linear Mn increases with conversion were observed up to about 50% conversion and obtained copolymers possessed monomodal, relatively narrow molecular weight distributions (polydispersity = 1.32–1.59). Copolymers with fDMAEMA = 80 and 90 mol% were also cleanly chain-extended with DMAEMA/styrene mixtures of 95 and 90 mol% DMAEMA, respectively, confirming the livingness of the copolymers. Copolymer phase behavior in aqueous solutions was examined by dynamic light scattering and UV-Vis spectroscopy. All copolymers exhibited lower critical solution temperature (LCST)-type behavior. LCST decreased with increasing styrene content in the copolymer and with increasing solution concentration. All copolymers were completely water-soluble and temperature insensitive at pH 4 but were more hydrophobic at pH 10, particularly copolymers with fDMAEMA = 80 and 85 mol%, which were water-insoluble. At pH 10, LCST of copolymers with fDMAEMA = 90 and 95 mol% were more than 10 °C lower compared to their solutions in neutral, de-ionized water. Block copolymers with two statistical blocks with different DMAEMA compositions exhibited a single LCST, suggesting the block segments were not distinct enough to exhibit separate LCSTs in water.
Keywords: stimuli-responsive; 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate; nitroxide mediated polymerization stimuli-responsive; 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate; nitroxide mediated polymerization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Zhang, C.; Maric, M. Synthesis of Stimuli-responsive, Water-soluble Poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate/styrene] Statistical Copolymers by Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization. Polymers 2011, 3, 1398-1422.

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