Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Telechelic High Performance Polyester Ionomers

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Virginia Tech

Novel poly(ethylene isophthalate) (PEI) and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) polymers containing terminal units derived from sodio 3-sulfobenzoic acid (SSBA) were synthesized using catalyzed melt polymerization techniques. Various concentrations of the ionic end group, SSBA, were successfully incorporated in a telechelic fashion. For comparison, polyesters containing telechelic alkyl groups with controllable molecular weights were also synthesized. Furthermore, ionic copolymers of dimethyl isophthalate and trans-cyclohexane dicarboxylate, dimethyl isophthalate and dimethyl terephthalate were synthesized to study the influences of polarity and rigidity of the polymer chain backbone on material properties. Novel branched polyester ionomers using trimellitic anhydride were also prepared. In addition to modifying the polymer compositions, PET ionomers were blended with zinc stearate to investigate the effect of plasticizer on the melt processibilty of the ionomers.

FTIR spectroscopy, which was used to quantify the sulfonate end groups for all of the ionomers, indicated an absorbance peak for the S-O stretching mode between 600-700 cm⁻¹. ¹H NMR spectroscopy was used to confirm the structure of the ionic and non-ionic polyesters, as well as to verify the presence of the terminal groups. By systematically varying the chemical structure of these ionomer model systems (i.e., altering the contents of ionic functional groups), detailed characterizations were carried out, wherein the ionic interactions/aggregations in the ionomers were found to play an important role in the resulting material properties. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) measurements were performed to study the effects of ionic groups and oligomer composition on the thermal properties of the polyesters. The glass transition temperatures of the ionomers revealed that the ionic interaction helped to maintain the structural integrity of the polymer chains, thus limiting their mobility. The dilute solution viscosity behavior of the ionomers exhibited upward curvature, which is a key characteristic of an ionomer. In PEI ionomers, the ionic aggregates formed at lower temperatures (<150 °C), while at higher temperatures (>150 °C), the ionic aggregations dissociated and behaved similarly to oligomers with lower molecular weights. Dodecanol was used as an effective end-capper to control the molecular weight of the non-ionic polyesters. In addition to telechelic ionic PEI and PET homopolymers, copolymers of poly(ethylene isophthalate-co-trans-1,4-cyclohexane dicarboxylate) (PEI-co-trans-CHDC) and poly(ethylene isophthalate-co-terephthalate) (PEIT) telechelic ionomers were also synthesized and characterized. Introducing trans-1,4-cyclohexane dicarboxylate into PEI ionomers decreased the polarity and packing regularity of the polymer chains. Also, the kinked-structure of dimethyl isophthalate reduced the regularity of the polymer chains in PET ionomers, thus reducing their propensity for rapid crystallization. Crystallization kinetics were studied for both ionic and alkyl telechelic polyesters, and resulting data revealed that the nature of the endgroup had a dramatic effect on crystallization from the melt state. The catalyst residue in the polymers also affected the crystallization rate for both ionic and non-ionic polyesters. With regard to the ionomers, antimony catalyst interacted with ionic aggregates, further increasing the crystallization rate. Branched PEI and PET ionomers showed an increase in melt strength. After blending with zinc stearate, the melt viscosity of the PET ionomers dropped dramatically.

Poly(ethylene isophthalate), Telechelic Ionomer, Polymer Blend, Crystallization Behavior, Branched Polyester, Poly(ethylene terephthalate)