When non-covalently bonded crystalline inclusion compounds (ICs) are formed by threading the host cyclic starches, cyclodextrins (CDs), onto guest polymer chains, and excess polymer is employed, non-stoichiometric (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs, with partially uncovered and “dangling” chains result. The crystalline host CD lattice is stable
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When non-covalently bonded crystalline inclusion compounds (ICs) are formed by threading the host cyclic starches, cyclodextrins (CDs), onto guest polymer chains, and excess polymer is employed, non-stoichiometric (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs, with partially uncovered and “dangling” chains result. The crystalline host CD lattice is stable to ~300 °C, and the uncovered, yet constrained, portions of the guest chains emanating from the CD-IC crystal surfaces behave very distinctly from their neat bulk samples. In CD-IC crystals formed with α- and γ-CD hosts, each containing, respectively, six and eight 1,4-α-linked glucose units, the channels constraining the threaded portions of the guest polymer chains are ~0.5 and 1.0 nm in diameter and are separated by ~1.4 and 1.7 nm. This results in dense brushes with ~0.6 and 0.4 chains/nm2
(or 0.8 if two guest chains are included in each γ-CD channel) of the un-included portions of guest polymers emanating from the host CD-IC crystal surfaces. In addition, at least some of the guest chains leaving from a crystalline CD-IC surface re-enter another CD-IC crystal creating a network structure that leads to shape-memory behavior for (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs. To some extent, (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs can be considered as dense polymer brushes with chains that are tethered on both ends. Not surprisingly, the behavior of the un-included portions of the guest polymer chains in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs are quite different from those of their neat bulk samples, with higher glass-transition and melt crystallization temperatures and crystallinities. Here we additionally compare their behaviors to samples coalesced from their stoichiometric ICs, and more importantly to dense polymer brushes formed by polymer chains chemically bonded to surfaces at only one end. Judging on the basis of their glass-transition, crystallization and melting temperatures, and crystallinities, we generally find the un-included portions of chains in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs to be more constrained than those in neat bulk as-received and coalesced samples and in high density brushes. The last observation is likely because many of the un-included chain portions in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs are tethered/constrained at both ends, while the chains in their dense brushes are tethered at only one end.