(743a) Hybrid Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization System for Balanced Polymerization Rate and Polymer Molecular Weight Control
A hybrid polymerization system that combines the fast reaction kinetics of conventional free radical polymerization and the control of molecular weight and distribution afforded by ATRP has been developed. High-free radical initiator concentrations in the range of 0.1-0.2 M were used in combination with a low concentration of ATRP catalyst. Conversions higher than 90% were achieved with ATRP catalyst concentrations of less than 20 ppm within 2 h for the hybrid ATRP system as compared with ATRPs where achieving such conversions would take up to 24 h. These reaction conditions lead to living polymerizations where polymer molecular weight increases linearly with monomer conversion. As in living polymerization and despite the fast rates and low ATRP catalyst concentrations, the polydispersity of the produced polymer remained below 1.30. Chain extension experiments from a synthesized macroinitiator were successful, which demonstrate the living characteristics of the hybrid ATRP process. Catalyst concentrations as low as 16 ppm were found to effectively mediate the growth of over 100 polymer chains per catalytic center, whereas at the same time negating the need for post polymerization purification given the low-catalyst concentration.