The Synthesis of Functional Polyphosphazenes and their Surfaces

Harry R. Allcock

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52 Scopus citations


The macromolecular substitution approach for the synthesis of polyphosphazenes provides access to many different polymers. However, it precludes the use of reagents that contain two or more functional groups because such compounds would cause extensive crosslinking of the chains. This presents a problem because many of the uses for which polyphosphazenes seem ideally suited require the presence of -OH, -COOH, -NH2, -SO3H, -PR2 and other functional units in the side-chain structure. We have developed two approaches to introduce such active sites: (1) protection-deprotection reactions; and (2) direct reactions of active reagents with the organic side-groups of non-functional poly(organophosphazenes). These methods have been applied both at the molecular level and in the form of reactions carried out only at polymer surfaces. The resultant polymers have special properties that are valuable in the microencapsulation of sensitive biological agents; in the formation of hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or adhesive surfaces; in crosslinking reactions; and in the development of solid polymer electrolytes, bio-erodible polymers, pH-triggered hydrogels, polymer blends and interpenetrating polymer networks. Overall, more than 700 different polyphosphazenes are now known, and a large number of these are functional macromolecules targeted for specific property combinations and uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Organometallic Chemistry
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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