Homogeneous reactive coupling of terminally functional polymers

C. A. Orr, J. J. Cernohous, P. Guegan, A. Hirao, H. K. Jeon, C. W. Macosko

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141 Scopus citations


The rates of nine melt coupling reactions were measured by reacting terminally functional polymer chains. The functional groups are carboxylic acid, oxazoline, epoxy, aromatic primary amine, aliphatic primary amine, hydroxyl and cyclic anhydride. The functional groups were attached to the end of polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) chains with most experiments performed at molecular weights of about 25,000 g/mol and temperature of 180°C. Reactions were performed homogeneously by blending stoichiometric amounts of the same type of polymer containing complementary functional groups. Reaction rates were determined from the amount of coupled chains via gel permeation chromatography. The functional group pairs, in order of increasing reactivity, are acid/amine, hydroxyl/(anhydride or acid), aromatic amine/epoxy, aliphatic amine/epoxy, acid/oxazoline, acid/epoxy, aromatic amine/anhydride, aliphatic amine/anhydride. This is in general agreement with results for very dilute small molecule analogs. Some experiments performed at higher molecular weights gave similar results. Coupling between aliphatic amine terminal and cyclic anhydride terminal chains was found to be extremely fast; complete conversion occurred in <30 s. Dilution studies and comparison to theory indicate that this reaction was not diffusion controlled. Mixing and diffusion are rapid enough to bring every chain end in contact within 15 s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8171-8178
Number of pages8
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jun 18 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NSF grants (GTS-9527940). We wish to thank Dr Kazuhiro Takenaka for his synthesis of several polymers, and Ryan Quast and Steve Schmidt for their help in obtaining the kinetic data.


  • Melt coupling reaction
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Terminally functional polymers


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