A new publication from the group in Polymer Chemistry addresses the functionalization of sterically hindered polyacrylates. Unlike poly(methyl acrylate) (PMA), the chain ends of which can be reacted quantitatively after polymerization, the chain ends of poly(butyl acrylate) (PBA) show lower reactivity due to steric encumbrance. In this work, a three step methodology involving biphasic SET-LRP, chain extension with methyl acrylate and heterogeneous esterification provides a route to acrylate-functionalized PBA. This approach, which can be simplified by applying two or even all three steps in a single pot, may provide a more general route to the funcationalization of sterically hindered polyacrylates.
This work was led in the group by Adrian Moreno with contributions from Tong Liu, as part of a collaboration with the group of Gerard Lligadas at University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.