We report on the phase separation behaviors of polymerization mixtures containing a polylactide macro-chain transfer agent (PLA-CTA), styrene, divinylbenzene, hydroxyl-terminated PLA (PLA-OH), and a molecular chain transfer agent which enable the ability to tune the pore size of a cross-linked polymer monolith in a facile manner. Cross-linked monoliths were produced from the mixtures via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization and converted into cross-linked porous polymers by selective removal of PLA while retaining the parent morphology. We demonstrate that pore sizes are tunable over a wide range of length scales from the meso- to macroporous regimes by adjusting the ratio of PLA-CTA to PLA-OH in the reaction mixture which causes the phase separation mechanism to change from polymerization-induced microphase separation to polymerization-induced phase separation. The possibility of increasing porosity and inducing simultaneous micro- and macrophase separation was also realized by adjustments in the molar mass of PLA which enabled the synthesis of hierarchically meso- and macroporous polymers.
- Block copolymer
- Polymerization-induced phase separation
- Porous polymer