A universal method for generating isotactic polyvinyl ethers (iso-PVEs) has been developed. While polyolefins offer excellent thermomechanical properties at low cost, their lack of polar functionality renders them unable to interface with other materials for high performance applications. Iso-PVEs are an intrinsically polar class of polymers that demonstrate plasticity and high tensile strength comparable to that of polyolefins, making them a promising functional thermoplastic alternative. However, achieving high isotacticity over a wide range of monomers via stereocontrolled vinyl ether polymerization has proven challenging. The present method for synthesizing iso-PVEs uses chiral BINOL-based phosphoric acid catalysis to achieve high levels of isotacticity with a variety of monomers. This method provides facile access to a new class of thermoplastics that unlocks applications currently unavailable with polyolefins.
· iso-PVEs derived from inexpensive and underutilized feedstocks
· Wide monomer substrate tolerability
· Highest reported isotacticity to date (93% meso diads)
· Over 21 times stronger adhesion to glass than a commercial polyolefin (DowTM LDPE)
- Catalyst-controlled Stereoselective Cationic Polymerization of Vinyl Ethers Science 363, 1439-1443 (2019)