Effect of Very High Charge Density and Monomer Constitution on the Synthesis and Properties of Cationic Polyelectrolytes
The free-radical homopolymerization of 1,3-bis(N,N,N-trimethylammonium)-2-propylmethacrylate dichloride (di-M) and 1,3-bis(N,N,N-trimethylammonium)-2-propylacrylate dichloride (di-A) in aqueous solution yields cationic polyelectrolytes (PEL) with theoretical/structural charge spacing of only approximate to 0.12 nm. The high charge density causes condensation of approximate to 82% of the chloride counterions. The high level of counterion condensation reduces the ionic strength in the polymerizing batch when the monomer molecules connect to PEL chains. This has the consequence that the hydrodynamic and excluded volume of the PEL molecules will change. Studies of the free radical polymerization revealed non-ideal polymerization kinetics already at low conversion and additionally autoacceleration above a certain monomer concentration and conversion. Similar autoacceleration was not observed for monomers yielding PEL with charge spacing of 0.25 or 0.5 nm. Coulomb interactions, monomer association, steric effects, and specific features of the monomer constitution have been evaluated concerning their contributions to the concentration dependence and conversion dependence of kinetic parameters. The different backbone constitutions of di-M and di-A not only influence the polymerization kinetics but also equip poly(di-M) with higher hydrolytic stability. The experimental results confirm the impact of electrochemical parameters and the necessity to reconsider their inclusion in kinetic models.