Polymer and Materials Science
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
A vinyl monomer that has the nitrile or carbonyl group conjugated to the C=C double bond, such as acrylonitrile, methyl acrylate, and methyl methacrylate, forms a complex with an alkylaluminum halide, and the complex reacts spontaneously with a hydrocarbon monomer such as styrene, propylene, or ethylene, giving a high molecular weight copolymer. The copolymers always contain the two monomer units in 1:1 ratio. Thus styrene, copolymerized with methyl acrylate or methyl methacrylate in the presence of ethylaluminum sesquichloride in homogeneous toluene solution, gives such an equimolar copolymer regardless of the initial monomer compositions. The NMR spectra of these copolymers are distinctly different from those of the equimolar copolymers obtained with azobisisobutyronitrile as initiator and have simpler and well separated patterns. The copolymers and the corresponding radical copolymers appear to be amorphous, judged by their x-ray diffraction patterns and their differential thermal analyses. Their infrared spectra resemble each other very closely. Hence, the difference in the NMR spectra may be ascribed to the matter of the sequence distribution. The infrared spectrum of ethylene-methyl acrylate copolymer shows no absorption near 720 cm.-1 due to the methylene sequence arising from ethylene-ethylene linkage. These experimental data lead to the inference that the equimolar copolymers obtained in this work may have an alternating sequence.
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