Radical polymerization of Vinyl acetate with bis(tetramethylheptadionato) cobalt(II): Coexistence of three different mechanisms

Kumar Santhosh, Yves Gnanou*, Yohan Champouret, Jean Claude Daran, Rinaldo Poli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The complex [Con(tmhd)2] (4tmhd = 2,2,6,6-tetramethylhepta-3,5-dionato) has been investigated as a mediator for controlled radical polymerization of vinyl acetate (VAc) and compared with the analogue [Con(acac)2] (1; acac = acetylacetonato). A relatively well controlled process occurs, after an induction time, with 2,2'-azobis(4-me-thoxyl-2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile) (V-70) as radical initiator at 30 °C. However, whereas the polymerization essentially stops after about six initiator half-lives in the presence of 1, it continues with a first-order rate law in the presence of 4. The successful simulation of the kinetic data shows that 4 operates simultaneously by associative (degenerative transfer, DT) and dissociative (organo-metallic radical polymerization, OMRP) mechanisms. The occurrence of OMRP was confirmed by an independent polymerization experiment starting from an isolated and purified [Co(tmhd)2] (PVAc) macroinitiator. The polymer molecular weight evolves linearly with conversion in accordance with the expected values for one chain per Co atom when DT is the predominant mechanism and also during the pure OMRP process; however, observation of stagnating molecular weights at long reaction times with concomitant breakdown of the first-order rate law for monomer consumption indicates a competitive chain-transfer process catalyzed by an increasing amount of CoII. In the presence of external donors L (water, pyridine, triethylamine) the DT pathway is blocked and the OMRP pathway is accelerated, and polymerization with complex 4 is then about five times slower than with complex 1. The reversal of relative effective OMRP rate constants keff (4 > 1 in the absence of external donors, 4 < 1 in their presence) is rationalized through competitive steric effects on CoIH-C and Co11-L bond strengths. These propositions are supported by 1H NMR studies and by DFT calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4874-4885
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 4 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cobalt
  • Density functional calculations
  • Polymerization
  • Radical reaction
  • Reaction mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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