Various oxirane monomers including alkyl ether or allyl-substituted ones such as 1-butene oxide, 1-hexene oxide, 1-octene oxide, butyl glycidyl ether, allyl glycidyl ether, and 2-ethylhexyl glycidyl ether were anionically copolymerized with CO2 into polycarbonates using onium salts as initiator in the presence of triethylborane. All copolymerizations exhibited a “living” character, and the monomer consumption was monitored by in situ Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The various polycarbonate samples obtained were characterized by 1H NMR, GPC, and differential scanning calorimetry. In a second step, all-polycarbonate triblock copolymers demonstrating elastomeric behavior were obtained in one pot by sequential copolymerization of CO2 with two different epoxides, using a difunctional initiator. 1-Octene oxide was first copolymerized with CO2 to form the central soft poly(octene carbonate) block which was flanked by two external rigid poly(cyclohexene carbonate) blocks obtained through subsequent copolymerization of cyclohexene oxide with CO2. Upon varying the ratio of 1-octene oxide to cyclohexene oxide and their respective ratios to the initiator, three all-polycarbonate triblock samples were prepared with molar masses of about 350 kg/mol and 22, 26, and 29 mol % hard block content, respectively. The resulting triblock copolymers were analyzed using 1H NMR, GPC, thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and atomic force microscopy. All three samples demonstrated typical elastomeric behavior characterized by a high elongation at break and ultimate tensile strength in the same range as those of other natural and synthetic rubbers, in particular those used in applications such as tissue engineering.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1374-01-01
Acknowledgements: This research work is supported by KAUST under baseline funding (BAS/1/1374-01-01).