Synthesis and characterisation of organic-inorganic hybrid block copolymers of polydimethylsiloxane and polystyrene

Bayley, Gareth Michael (2007-03)

Thesis (MSc (Chemistry and Polymer Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


Hybrid A-B type block copolymers of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and polystyrene (PS) were synthesised. Three different synthetic routes, which allowed control over polymer structure, were chosen to synthesise these block copolymers. The first technique, coupling of functional prepolymers, involved using anionic polymerisation to produce PDMS and PS functional prepolymers of controlled structure. These prepolymers were functionalised with either silane or allyl functionality and then coupled using a hydrosilylation reaction with Karstetds platinum catalyst. This technique was the least efficient in block synthesis due to the incompatibility of the disparate prepolymers. The second technique under study, sequential anionic polymerisation, gave excellent block copolymer formation with good control over the chain architecture. The final technique employed atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) of styrene using a bromoisobutyrate functionalised PDMS macroinitiator. Silane functional PDMS molecules underwent a hydrosilylation reaction with allyl-2-bromo-2-methyl-propionate to produce the bromoisobutyrate functionalised polymer in excellent yields. Subsequent ATRP with styrene allowed the successful synthesis of block copolymers of controlled structure. Chromatographic systems that allowed liquid chromatography at the critical conditions (LC-CC) of PS and gradient elution chromatography (GEC) of the products were developed. GEC was used successfully in the monitoring of the presence and removal of PDMS homopolymer present in the block copolymer products. LCCC at the critical point of PS allowed successful chromatographic separation of PS homopolymer from the block material, as well as, the molecular weight distribution of the block material according to the segmental length of the PDMS component. LC-CC coupled to FT-IR using a LC-transform device allowed successful characterisation of the block copolymer chemical composition. Corona treatment was used to modify the surface structure of the block copolymer films. Optical microscopy and slow positron beam studies highlighted the formation of a thin silica like layer on the surface of the films after corona. The positron studies enabled determination of the silica like layer’s thickness. Contact angle studies provided the first evidence of hydrophobic loss and recovery for these PDMS containing hybrid polymer materials after corona treatment. A novel offline coupling technique was developed between LC-CC separation and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. This allowed easy sample preparation without the difficult bulk extraction procedures needed to remove homo-PS contaminants from the block copolymer. This technique also provided morphological information as a function of PDMS segmental length.

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