Synthesis and characterization of amphiphilic star copolymers of 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate: Effects of architecture and composition
SourceEuropean Polymer Journal
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Six amphiphilic star copolymers comprising hydrophilic units of 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and hydrophobic units of methyl methacrylate (MMA) were prepared by the sequential group transfer polymerization (GTP) of the two comonomers and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) cross-linker. Four star-block copolymers of different compositions, one miktoarm star, and one statistical copolymer star were synthesized. The molecular weights (MWs) and MW distributions of all the star copolymers and their linear homopolymer and copolymer precursors were characterized by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), while the compositions of the stars were determined by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy. Tetrahydrofuran (THF) solutions of all the star copolymers were characterized by static light scattering to determine the absolute weight-average MW (over(M, -)w) and the number of arms of the stars. The over(M, -)w of the stars ranged between 359,000 and 565,000 g mol-1, while their number of arms ranged between 39 and 120. The star copolymers were soluble in acidic water at pH 4 giving transparent or slightly opaque solutions, with the exception of the very hydrophobic DMAEMA10-b-MMA30-star, which gave a very opaque solution. Only the random copolymer star was completely dispersed in neutral water, giving a very opaque solution. The effective pKs of the copolymer stars were determined by hydrogen ion titration and were found to be in the range 6.5-7.6. The pHs of precipitation of the star copolymer solutions/dispersions were found to be between 8.8-10.1, except for the most hydrophobic DMAEMA10-b-MMA30-star, which gave a very opaque solution over the whole pH range. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.