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Tailor-Made Fluorinated Copolymer/Clay Nanocomposite by Cationic RAFT Assisted Pickering Miniemulsion Polymerization

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2015, 00:00 by Arindam Chakrabarty, Longhe Zhang, Kevin A. Cavicchi, R. A. Weiss, Nikhil K Singha
Fluorinated polymers in emulsion find enormous applications in hydrophobic surface coating. Currently, lots of efforts are being made to develop specialty polymer emulsions which are free from surfactants. This investigation reports the preparation of a fluorinated copolymer via Pickering miniemulsion polymerization. In this case, 2,2,3,3,3-pentafluoropropyl acrylate (PFPA), methyl methacrylate (MMA), and n-butyl acrylate (nBA) were copolymerized in miniemulsion using Laponite-RDS as the stabilizer. The copolymerization was carried out via reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) process. Here, a cationic RAFT agent, S-1-dodecyl-S′-(methylbenzyltriethylammonium bromide) trithiocarbonate (DMTTC), was used to promote polymer-Laponite interaction by means of ionic attraction. The polymerization was much faster when Laponite content was 30 wt % or above with 1.2 wt % RAFT agent. The stability of the miniemulsion in terms of zeta potential was found to be dependent on the amount of both Laponite and RAFT agent. The miniemulsion had particle sizes in the range of 200–300 nm. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses showed the formation of Laponite armored spherical copolymer particles. The fluorinated copolymer films had improved surface properties because of polymer–Laponite interaction.