Microstructure of copolymers formed by the reagentless, mechanochemical remodeling of homopolymers via pulsed ultrasound
The high shear forces generated during the pulsed ultrasound of dilute polymer solutions lead to large tensile forces that are focused near the center of the polymer chain, but quantitative experimental evidence regarding the force distribution is rare. Here, pulsed ultrasound of quantitatively geminal-dihalocyclopropanated (gDHC) polybutadiene provides insights into the distribution. Pulsed ultrasound leads to the mechanochemical ring-opening of the gDHC mechanophore to a 2,3-dihaloalkene. The alkene product is then degraded through ozonolysis to leave behind only those stretches of the polymer that have not experienced large enough forces to be activated. Microstructural and molecular weight analysis reveals that the activated and unactivated regions of the polymer are continuous, indicating a smooth and monotonic force distribution from the midchain peak toward the polymer ends. When coupled to chain scission, the net process constitutes the rapid, specific, and reagentless conversion of a single homopolymer into block copolymers. Despite their compositional polydispersity, the sonicated polymers assemble into ordered lamellar phases that are characterized by small-angle X-ray scattering. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Ramirez, ALB; Ogle, JW; Schmitt, AL; Lenhardt, JM; Cashion, MP; Mahanthappa, MK; Craig, SL
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