alexa An Ab Initio Investigation of the Chain-Length Dependence of the Addition–Fragmentation Equilibria in RAFT Polymerization
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Theoretical and Computational Science

Author(s): Ching Yeh Lin, Michelle L Coote

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Ab initio molecular orbital theory has been used to study and explain the effects of chain length on the addition–fragmentation equilibrium constant in reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. New data is presented for azobisisobutyronitrile-initiated t-butyl dithiobenzoate-mediated polymerization of methyl methacrylate, and 2-(((ethylthio)carbonothioyl)thio)propanoic acid-mediated polymerization of acrylamide, and compared with published results for a dithiobenzoate-mediated polymerization of styrene and a trithiocarbonate-mediated polymerization of methyl acrylate. The effects of primary and penultimate substituents on the addition–fragmentation equilibrium constants in RAFT polymerization can be very large (up to eight orders and four orders of magnitude respectively) and should be taken into account in kinetic models. Antepenultimate unit effects are relatively small, implying that, for most systems, chain length effects have largely converged by the dimer stage. However, for sterically bulky monomers capable of undergoing anchimeric interactions such as hydrogen bonding, the onset and convergence of these substituent effects is delayed to slightly longer chain lengths. The magnitude and direction of chain-length effects in the addition–fragmentation equilibrium constants varies considerably with the nature of the RAFT agent, the initiating species, the propagating radical, and the solvent. The observed substituent effects arise primarily in the differing stabilities of the attacking radicals, but are further modified by homoanomeric effects and, where possible, hydrogen-bonding interactions.

This article was published in Australian Journal Of Chemistry and referenced in Journal of Theoretical and Computational Science

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