Cross-Linked Polyolefins through Tandem ROMP/Hydrogenation

Caitlin S. Sample, Brenden D. Hoehn, Marc A. Hillmyer

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Cross-linked polyolefins have important advantages over their thermoplastic analogues, particularly improved impact strength and abrasion resistance, as well as increased chemical and thermal stability; however, most strategies for their production involve postpolymerization cross-linking of polyolefin chains. Here, a tandem ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP)/hydrogenation approach is presented. Cyclooctene (COE)-co-dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) networks are first synthesized using ROMP, after which the dispersed Ru metathesis catalyst is activated for hydrogenation through the addition of hydrogen gas. The reaction temperature for hydrogenation must be sufficiently high to allow mobility within the system, as dictated by thermal transitions (i.e., glass and melting transitions) of the polymeric matrix. COE-rich materials exhibit branched-polyethylene-like crystallinity (25% crystallinity) and melting points (Tm = 107 °C), as well as excellent ductility (>750% extension), while majority DCPD materials are glassy (Tg = 84 °C) and much stiffer (E = 710 MPa); all materials exhibit high tensile toughness. Importantly, hydrogenation of olefins in these cross-linked materials leads to notable improvements in oxidative stability, as saturated networks do not experience the same substantial degradation of mechanical performance as their unsaturated counterparts upon prolonged exposure to air.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 16 2024

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