The behavior and separation of polystyrene in mixed solvent systems
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Non-polar phase selective solubility of modified poly(4-n-alkylstyrene) supports can be measured using fluorescent dyes as catalyst surrogates with thermomorphic and latent biphasic systems. By modifying the solvent compositions in heptane/ethanol and heptane/N, N-dimethylacetamide, increased non-polar phase selective solubility of modified polystyrene supports can be attained. Likewise, by varying the structure and length of the pendant alkyl chain, an increase in non-polar phase selective solubility is measured. These heptane soluble polymer supports can be useful for applications involving heptane soluble polymer-bound reagents and catalysts. Various polar and non-polar polymer supports were synthesized with an attached solvatochromic catalyst surrogates to determine the solvent accessibility of the supported species in pure and mixed solvents. The results of these studies indicate that in pure solvents, the influence of both polar and non-polar polymer supports on the solvent microenvironment of these polymer-supported probes is minimal. In mixed solvent systems, a polymer-like solvent microenvironment is measured in solvent mixtures comprised of solvents the polymer has unfavorable interactions. Poly(4-n-alkylstyrene) and internally functionalized polyisobutylene supports are two such polymer supports that exhibit this behavior. For terminally functionalized polymers in mixed solvents, the solvatochromic behavior does not indicate a collapsed structure. In mixed solvents, there is minimal influence of the polymer support on the solvent microenvironment of these terminally functionalized polymers. The application of soluble polyisobutylene supported copper complexes in the ATRP polymerization of styrene was investigated. Using the difference in solubility of the product polystyrene and the polyisobutylene copper complex in heptane, a solid/liquid separation of the soluble copper complex from the solid product was achieved. The results of these polymerizations indicate that the polyisobutylene copper complex behaves exactly like a low molecular weight copper complex in terms of control over molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. After the polymerizations, the polyisobutylene complexes could be separated as a heptane solution and recycled in multiple polymerizations of styrene.
Hamilton, Patrick Neal (2007). The behavior and separation of polystyrene in mixed solvent systems. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from