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Journalpaper

High-molecular-weight symmetrical multiblock copolymers: Synthesis by RAFT polymerization and characterization

Abstract

High-molecular-weight (MW) symmetrical multiblock copolymers, based on the hydrophobic monomers styrene (Sty) and methyl methacrylate (MMA), and the more polar monomer, 2-vinyl pyridine (2VPy), were prepared using stepwise reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization. All copolymers shared a common poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) midblock, introduced as a bifunctional macromolecular chain transfer agent. In total, five ABA triblock copolymers, five ABCBA pentablock terpolymers, and two ABCDCBA heptablock quaterpolymers (comprising four different monomer types) were synthesized. The MWs of the multiblock polymers were determined using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, with the latter values being closer to the theoretically expected, whereas GPC MW distributions were relatively narrow, broadening with the number of blocks. The compositions of the synthesized polymers, as determined by 1H NMR spectroscopy, were also close to the expected values. Finally, films cast from chloroform solutions of the pentablock terpolymers P2VPy-b-PSty-b-PEG-b-PSty-b-P2VPy, PSty-b-PMMA-b-PEG-b-PMMA-b-PSty, and P2VPy-b-PMMA-b-PEG-b-PMMA-b-P2VPy examined using transmission electron microscopy exhibited PSty and PMMA cylinders (first two) and lamellae (third terpolymer).
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