Self-Condensing Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization

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Virginia Tech


Ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) is a great tool for synthesizing polyolefin materials with different topologies, including hyperbranched polymers—polymers with high degrees of branching and many end groups. However, hyperbranched polymer synthesis via ROMP is challenging due to multifunctional-monomer or multi-polymerization requirements. To simplify the synthesis of hyperbranched ROMP polymers, we developed a new synthetic approach: Self-condensing ROMP. The self-condensing ROMP approach involves a ROMP initiator modification to attach a ROMP-polymerizable group (a ROMP monomer), producing a ROMP "inimer" (initiator + monomer). The ROMP inimer initiates the polymerization and becomes a branching unit in the polymer structure, resulting in single-step hyperbranched polymer synthesis. The key challenge is controlling of this approach the ROMP initiator reactivity to avoid initiating polymerization during the ROMP inimer synthesis. Well-defined ruthenium-based olefin metathesis catalysts are common ROMP initiators due to their high stability, reactivity, and functional group tolerance. Thus, we studied the olefin metathesis catalyst activation temperature to enable ROMP initiator-monomer coupling. Based on the catalyst activity, we designed and synthesized a series of ROMP inimers. Then, we synthesized hyperbranched polymers via self-condensing ROMP. The characterization of hyperbranched polymers indicated the effect of branching density on the physical properties of the polymer. This approach introduced a new class of olefin metathesis complexes, ROMP inimers, containing both the initiator and propagating center. This approach provides a way to synthesize hyperbranched polymers from any known ROMP monomers in a single step. This dissertation also includes the synthesis and characterization of a bimetallic Ru complex that could directly synthesize cyclic polyolefin. We also include the synthesis and characterization of copper-ruthenium bimetallic olefin metathesis catalysts.



Latent olefin metathesis catalysts, catalyst activation, ring-opening metathesis polymerization, hyperbranched polymer synthesis