M. Vergaelen

Synthesis of poly(2-oxazoline)s with side chain methyl ester functionalities: Detailed understanding of copolymerization behavior of methyl ester containing monomers with 2-alkyl-2-oxazolines

P. Bouten, D. Hertsen, M. Vergaelen, B. Monnery, S. Catak, J. van Hest, V. Van Speybroeck, R. Hoogenboom
Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry
7 (17), 2711-2719


Poly(2-oxazoline)s with methyl ester functionalized side chains are interesting as they can undergo a direct amidation reaction or can be hydrolyzed to the carboxylic acid, making them versatile functional polymers for conjugation. In this work, detailed studies on the homo- and copolymerization kinetics of two methyl ester functionalized 2-oxazoline monomers with 2-methyl-2-oxazoline, 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline, and 2-n-propyl-2-oxazoline are reported. The homopolymerization of the methyl ester functionalized monomers is found to be faster compared to the alkyl monomers, while copolymerization unexpectedly reveals that the methyl ester containing monomers significantly accelerate the polymerization. A computational study confirms that methyl ester groups increase the electrophilicity of the living chain end, even if they are not directly attached to the terminal residue. Moreover, the electrophilicity of the living chain end is found to be more important than the nucleophilicity of the monomer in determining the rate of propagation. However, the monomer nucleophilicity can be correlated with the different rates of incorporation when two monomers compete for the same chain end, that is, in copolymerizations. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2015

Accelerated living cationic ring-opening polymerization of a methyl ester functionalized 2-oxazoline monomer

P.J.M. Bouten, D. Hertsen, M. Vergaelen, B. Monnery, M.A. Boerman, H. Goossens, S. Catak, J.C.M. van Hest, V. Van Speybroeck, R. Hoogenboom
Polymer Chemistry
6, 514-518


Kinetic studies on the homo- and copolymerization of 2-methoxycarboxyethyl-2-oxazoline (MestOx) with 2-methyl-2-oxazoline (MeOx) and 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline (EtOx) were performed. For the homopolymerisation of MestOx an increased propagation rate constant was observed compared to MeOx and EtOx while the copolymerization of MestOx with MeOx or EtOx unexpectedly revealed slower incorporation of MestOx. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations show that nearby MestOx residues in the living chain can activate both the oxazolinium chain end and the attacking monomer, stabilizing the propagation transition state, leading to faster homopolymerisation of MestOx. These effects also accelerate incorporation of both monomers in the copolymerisations. However, since MeOx is shown to be more nucleophilic than MestOx, the incorporation order is reversed in the copolymerisations.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Theoretical Rationalization of the Cationic Ring-opening Polymerization of a Methyl Ester Functionalized 2-Oxazoline Monomer


Conference / event / venue 

Annual IAP Meeting (P7/05)
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
Friday, 19 September, 2014
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