Molecular blending by polymerization of intercalated solvent. Poly(γ-benzyl-L-glutamate)/benzyl methacrylate as a model system

C. S.J. van Hooy-Corstjens, S. Rastogi

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The aim of the present research is to obtain blending between a polymer and a (polymerized) solvent on the molecular level. Because of its rigid rod structure, poly(γ-benzyl-L-glutamate) (PBLG) is chosen as the polymer. Benzyl methacrylate (BzMA) has been chosen as the solvent for two reasons. First, the structure of the solvent is very similar to the structure of the side chain of PBLG, favoring interactions between the two materials. Second, the solvent can be polymerized, because of the presence of a C = C bond. In cast films of PBLG and BzMA separate zones of the polymer and solvent are present. Wide-angle X-ray diffraction and Raman results show that upon heating the cast films homogenization occurs and solvent molecules intercalate between the helices of PBLG. At 150 °C a hexagonal packing is obtained. The dimensions of the obtained packing depend on the solvent concentration, which confirms that solvent molecules are indeed present within the crystalline lattice. DSC experiments imply that the observed changes upon heating correspond to thermodynamic processes. On cooling the homogeneous samples, disordering of the hexagonal packing occurs. Polymerization of the homogeneous samples results in a disordering of the hexagonal packing and in a contraction of the unit cell. The latter once more confirms that solvent molecules are indeed present within the crystalline lattice. The applied principle of polymerization of a solvent in a molecular homogeneous system can be favorable for many applications, for which morphology control at the molecular level is required. © 2006 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1542-1550
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

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