Radical Copolymerization Kinetics of Bio-Renewable Butyrolactone Monomer in Aqueous Solution

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Luk, Sharmaine B.
Hutchinson, Robin A
bio-renewable , depropagation , ionic strength , parameter estimation
The radical copolymerization kinetics of acrylamide (AM) and the water-soluble monomer sodium 4-hydroxy-4-methyl-2-methylene butanoate (SHMeMB), formed by saponification of the bio-sourced monomer γ-methyl-α-methylene-γ-butyrolactone (MeMBL), are investigated to explain the previously reported slow rates of reaction during synthesis of superabsorbent hydrogels. Limiting conversions were observed to decrease with increased temperature during SHMeMB homopolymerization, suggesting that polymerization rate is limited by depropagation. Comonomer composition drift also increased with temperature, with more AM incorporated into the copolymer due to SHMeMB depropagation. Using previous estimates for the SHMeMB propagation rate coefficient, the conversion profiles were used to estimate rate coefficients for depropagation and termination (kt). The estimate for kt,SHMeMB was found to be of the same order of magnitude as that recently reported for sodium methacrylate, with the averaged copolymerization termination rate coefficient dominated by the presence of SHMeMB in the system. In addition, it was found that depropagation still controlled the SHMeMB polymerization rate at elevated temperatures in the presence of added salt.