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A Novel Dynamic Polymer Synthesis via Chlorinated Solvent Quenched Depolymerization

Publication Type
Journal Name
CCS Chemistry
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 34

Dynamic polymers with both physical interactions and dynamic covalent bonds exhibit superior performance while achieving such dry polymers in an efficient manner remains a challenge. Herein, we report a novel organic solvent quenched polymer synthesis using a natural molecule, i.e., thioctic acid (TA), which has both dynamic disulfide bond and carboxylic acid. The effects of the solvent types and concentrations along with reaction times on the proposed reaction have been thoroughly explored for polymer synthesis. Solid-state proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) and first-principles simulations are carried out to investigate the reaction mechanism. It shows that the chlorinated solvent can efficiently stabilize and mediate the depolymerization of poly(TA) which is more kinetically favorable upon lowering the temperature. Attributed to the numerous dynamic covalent disulfide bonds and noncovalent hydrogen bonding, the obtained poly(TA) shows high extensibility, self-healable and re-processable properties. It can also be employed as an efficient adhesive even on a Teflon surface and 3D printed using the fused deposition modeling (FDM) technique. This new polymer synthesis approach on using organic solvents as catalysts along with the unique reaction mechanism provides a new pathway for efficient polymer synthesis, especially for those multi-functional dynamic polymers.