Title page for ETD etd-09052011-104852

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cheng, Shijing
URN etd-09052011-104852
Title Synthesis and Characterization of Cation-Containing and Hydrogen Bonding Supramolecular Polymers
Degree PhD
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Long, Timothy E. Committee Chair
Davis, Richey M. Committee Member
Moore, Robert Bowen III Committee Member
Riffle, Judy S. Committee Member
Turner, S. Richard Committee Member
  • non-covalent interactions
  • molecular recognition
  • hydrogen bonding
  • ionomers
  • nitroxide mediated polymerization
  • reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer p
  • nucleobase
  • ammonium
  • phosphonium
  • polyacrylates
  • Michael addition
  • ionic liquids
Date of Defense 2011-08-26
Availability unrestricted
Non-covalent interactions including nucleobase hydrogen bonding and phosphonium/ammonium ionic aggregation were studied in block and random polymers synthesized using controlled radical polymerization techniques such as nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT). Non-covalent interactions were expected to increase the effective molecular weight of the polymeric precursors through intermolecular associations and to induce microphase separation. The influence of non-covalent association on the structure/property relationships of these materials were studied in terms of physical properties (tensile, DMA, rheology) as well as morphological studies (AFM, SAXS).

Ionic interactions, which possess stronger interaction energies than hydrogen bonds (~150 kJ/mol) were studied in the context of phosphonium-containing acrylate triblock (ABA) copolymers and random copolymers. Phosphonium-containing ionic liquid monomers with different alkyl substituent lengths and counterions enabled an investigation of the effects of ionic aggregation of phosphonium cations on the polymer physical properties. The polymerization of styrenic phosphonium-containing ionic liquid monomers using a difunctional alkoxyamine initiator, DEPN2, afforded an ABA triblock copolymer with an n-butyl acrylate soft center block and symmetric phosphonium-containing external reinforcing blocks. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of triblock copolymers revealed pronounced microphase separation at the nanoscale. Phosphonium aggregation governed block copolymer flow activation energies. In random copolymers, the phosphonium cations only weakly aggregated, which strongly depended on the length of alkyl substituents and the type of counterions. Acrylate random copolymers consisting of quaternary ammonium functionalities were synthesized using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT). The obtained copolymers possessed controlled compositions and narrow molecular weight distributions with molecular weights ranging from Mn =50,000 to 170,000 g/mol. DMA evidenced the weak aggregation of ammonium cations in the solid state. Additionally, this ionomer was salt-responsive in NaCl aqueous solutions.

Hydrogen bonding, a dynamic interaction with intermediate enthalpies (10-40 kJ/mol) was introduced through complementary heterocyclic DNA nucleobases such as adenine, thymine and uracil. Our investigations in this field have focused on the use of DNA nucleobase pair interactions to control polymer self-assembly and rheological behavior. Novel acrylic adenine- and thymine-containing monomers were synthesized from aza-Michael addition reaction. The long alkyl spacers between nucleobase and polymer backbone afforded structural flexibility in self-assembly process. Adenine-containing polyacrylates exhibited unique morphologies due to adenine-adenine π-π interactions. The complementary hydrogen bonding of adenine and thymine resulted in disruption of adenine-adenine π-π interactions, leading to lower plateau modulus and lower softening temperatures. Moreover, hydrogen bonding interactions enabled the compatibilization of complementary hydrogen bonding guest molecules such as uracil phosphonium chloride.

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