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Multiarm Polycarbonate Star Polymers with a Hyperbranched Polyether Core from CO2 and Common Epoxides

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journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2017, 00:00 by Markus Scharfenberg, Jan Seiwert, Maximilian Scherger, Jasmin Preis, Moritz Susewind, Holger Frey
Multiarm star copolymers, consisting of hyperbranched poly­(ethylene oxide) (hbPEO) or poly­(butylene oxide) (hbPBO) polyether copolymers with glycerol branching points as a core, and linear aliphatic polycarbonate arms generated from carbon dioxide (CO2) and epoxide monomers, were synthesized via a “core-first” approach in two steps. First, hyperbranched polyether polyols were prepared by anionic copolymerization of ethylene oxide or 1,2-butylene oxide with 8–35% glycidol with molecular weights between 800 and 389,000 g·mol–1. Second, multiple arms were grown via immortal copolymerization of CO2 with propylene oxide or 1,2-butylene oxide using the polyether polyols as macroinitiators and (R,R)-(salcy)-CoCl as a catalyst in a solvent-free procedure. Molecular weights up to 812,000 g·mol–1 were obtained for the resulting multiarm polycarbonates, determined by online viscometry with universal calibration and 1H NMR. Comparing the synthesis of different multiarm star polycarbonates, a combination of a highly reactive macroinitiator with a less reactive epoxide monomer was found to be most suitable to obtain well-defined structures containing up to 88 mol% polycarbonate. The multiarm star copolymers were investigated with respect to their thermal properties, intrinsic viscosity, and potential application as polyols for polyurethane synthesis. Glass transition temperatures in the range from −41 to +25 °C were observed. The intrinsic viscosity could be adjusted between 5.4 and 17.3 cm3·g–1 by varying the ratio of polyether units and polycarbonate units.

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