Catalytic hydroxylation of polypropylenes

Chulsung Bae, John F. Hartwig, Nicole K. Boaen Harris, Rachael O. Long, Kelly S. Anderson, Marc A. Hillmyer

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126 Scopus citations


The regioselective functionalization of both model and commercial polypropylenes of varying tacticity has been conducted by a rhodium-catalyzed functionalization of the methyl C-H bonds of the polymer with diboron reagents. Rhodium-catalyzed borylation of the polypropylenes, followed by oxidation of the boron-containing material, produced polymers containing 0.2-1.5% hydroxymethyl side chains. Both the number-average molecular weights and molecular weight distributions of the polypropylenes were essentially unchanged after the catalytic and oxidative functionalization process. The efficiency of the borylation process was affected by the molecular weight of the polymer, the steric hindrance around the methyl groups, and the ratio of the diboron reagent to the monomer repeat unit. The hydroxylated derivative of the commercial isotactic polypropylene was used as macroinitiator for the aluminum-mediated ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone to prepare polypropylene-graft-polycaprolactone. This graft copolymer was an effective compatibilizer for melt blends of polypropylene and polycaprolactone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-776
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 19 2005


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