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Surfactant-Free RAFT Emulsion Polymerization Using Poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) Trithiocarbonate Macromolecular Chain Transfer Agents

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journal contribution
posted on 10.08.2010, 00:00 authored by Jutta Rieger, Wenjing Zhang, François Stoffelbach, Bernadette Charleux
Water-soluble poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide)s (PDMAAm) with a reactive trithiocarbonate group exhibiting different structures were used as macromolecular RAFT (reversible addition−fragmentation chain transfer) agents in the surfactant-free emulsion polymerization of n-butyl acrylate and styrene, under ab initio, batch conditions. Independently of the structure of the RAFT group, the polymerizations were fast and controlled with molar masses that matched well the theoretical values and rather low polydispersity indexes. Monomer conversions close to 100% were reached and the polymerizations behaved as controlled systems, even when solids contents up to 40% were targeted. The system thus led to poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide)-b-poly(n-butyl acrylate) and poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide)-b-polystyrene amphiphilic diblock copolymers formed in situ and self-assembled upon chain extension. The stability of the aqueous dispersions, measured by the amount of coagulum formed, improved with increasing length of the stabilizing hydrophilic PDMAAm segments.