Effects of end group polarity and molecular weight on the lower critical solution temperature of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)

Steven Furyk, Yanjie Zhang, Denisse Ortiz-Acosta, Paul S. Cremer, David E. Bergbreiter

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The lower critical solution temperatures (LCSTs) for mass fractionated samples of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) were studied to determine the effect of polymer molecular weight on the LOST using a high throughput temperature gradient apparatus. PNIPAM fractions prepared by a conventional radical polymerization using azoisobutyronitrile (AIBN) as the initiator had LCSTs that were largely invariant with molecular weight or dispersity. Only slight deviations were noted with lower molecular weight samples. An 18-kDa sample had a 0.6°C higher LCST. A 56-kDa sample had a 0.2°C higher LCST. PNIPAM derivatives prepared with a triphenylmethyl (trityl) functionalized azo initiator were also prepared and mass fractionated. These samples' LCSTs were identical to those of PNIPAM samples prepared using AIBN initiation when higher molecular weight samples were compared. The trityl-containing PNIPAM fractions' LCSTs varied when the molecular weight decreased below 100 kDa. Acidolysis of the trityl end groups provided a third set of PNIPAM derivatives whose LCST differed only with samples with M w values < 60 kDa. These results show there is no effect of molecular weight on LCST until the degree of polymerization is such that end group structure becomes significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1501
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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