Segmented Aromatic Polymers Containing Thermally Reversible Linkages
Kaurich, Kevin Joseph
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This dissertation describes a general synthetic platform for segmented polymers that have main-chain reversible linkages based on cyclopentadiene-maleimide Diels-Alder chemistry. Research in the area of thermally reversible (self-healing) polymers has been an ever-expanding area of interest in the current scientific literature. However most of the emphasis has been on systems containing furan-maleimide linkages. While inexpensive and synthetically accessible, furan chemistry is mostly limited to crosslinked and hyperbranched architectures due to its relatively weak binding with maleimides at suitable propagation temperatures. Following a general review of the literature in this area (Chapter 1) the first stage of our research (Chapter 2) entails the synthesis of 2-substituted hydroquinones, which are needed as monomers in the later stages. The novelty of our hydroquinone synthesis stems from the use of allylic and other alkenyl ethers as the source of the ring substituent, and from the utilization of catalytic hydroboration to improve atom-efficiency. We showed that hydroquinones with widely varying functionality can be prepared efficiently by our method; these findings were published in the journal Tetrahedron in 2018. The second stage (Chapter 3) involves the use of the new hydroquinones in step-growth syntheses of hydroquinone-terminated telechelic and chain-extension of these telomers via Diels-Alder chemistry to form segmented polymers having thermally reversible linkages. The novelty of our approach rests with the use of cyclopentadiene-maleimide chemistry for the linkages, while the overall physical properties such as the glass transition temperature were established by using well-defined aromatic polymers �" poly(ether ether ketones) or PEEK and poly(aryl ether sulfones) or PAES �" as segments. This approach represents an important departure from earlier work in our group in which reversible linkages were present in every repeat unit of a step-growth Diels-Alder polymer that showed thermal reversibility in solution but not in the bulk, owing to glass transition temperatures that were too high. Using scratch-healing and mechanical (tensile) tests, we show that our new segmented polymers exhibit self-healing characteristics that are competitive with or superior to previously reported systems based on different Diels-Alder chemistry. The third stage (Chapter 4) aims to explore new application areas for some of the more novel functionalized hydroquinones reported in Chapter 2. First we developed an efficient synthesis of a PAES derivative bearing 5-phenoxypentyl groups on the hydroquinone moiety. Then we showed that the 5-phenoxy group can be cleanly cleaved, post-polymerization, to afford a PAES having 5-bromopentyl substituents. The promise of our method rests with the potential of the pendant electrophiles to undergo reactions with nucleophilic reagents to post-modify these polymers further. As proof of concept, we showed that substitution of the pendant bromides with furfuryloxy groups enabled thermally reversible crosslinking with a bis-maleimide reagent to form a polymeric material that demonstrates partial scratch healing. Finally we are exploring the synthesis of new ion-containing polymers by substituting the pendant bromides with tertiary amines.
- Doctoral Dissertations