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Polymerization of 5‑Alkylidene-2-norbornenes with Highly Active Pd–N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complex Catalysts: Catalyst Structure–Activity Relationships

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posted on 09.01.2020, 19:41 authored by Evgeniya V. Bermesheva, Alyona I. Wozniak, Fedor A. Andreyanov, Gleb O. Karpov, Mikhail S. Nechaev, Andrey F. Asachenko, Maxim A. Topchiy, Elizaveta K. Melnikova, Yulia V. Nelyubina, Pavel S. Gribanov, Maxim V. Bermeshev
We studied the addition polymerization of readily available bifunctional norbornene derivatives, 5-alkylidene-2-norbornenes, in the presence of modified Pd complexes with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands activated by borates. The Pd–N-heterocyclic carbene complex/phosphine/borate systems selectively catalyze the addition polymerization of 5-methylene-2-norbornene and 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene with the participation of the endocyclic norbornene double bond, whereas the exocyclic double bond remained intact. The catalysts exhibited extremely high activity and durability: the activity was higher than 1 × 108 gpolymer/(molPd·h) and some catalysts were active at a very high monomer/Pd molar ratio of 2 × 107 or at a Pd complex concentration of 5 × 10–6 mol %. The structure–catalytic activity relationships were established for Pd–N-heterocyclic carbene complexes: the Pd complexes bearing five-membered heterocyclic rings and/or less sterically hindered aryl groups at nitrogen atoms in carbene ligands exhibited the highest activity. The polymerization can be performed in an atmosphere of air and in wet solvents. The resulting polymers are amorphous and high-molecular-weight products consisting of rigid saturated main chains and reactive side groups. Thus, they can be considered as promising intermediates in the production of polymeric materials with high glass-transition temperatures and desired properties by targeted modifications.