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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Mar 26;130(12):3920-6. doi: 10.1021/ja077272n. Epub 2008 Feb 28.

Syndiotactic polystyrene nanofibrils in silica nanotube reactors: understanding of synthesis with ultrahigh molecular weight.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Nanofibrils of ultrahigh molecular weight syndiotactic polystyrene (sPS) have been synthesized in a silica nanotube reactor (SNTR) using a metallocene catalyst in conjunction with methylaluminoxane cocatalyst. Very thin sPS nanofibrils (<10 nm) grown at the catalytic sites on the pore walls aggregate to form intertwined, rope-like nanofibrils with 30-50 nm diameters, which further intertwine into even larger 200 nm diameter polymer nanofibrils. The extrusion of nanofibrils synthesized inside the SNTR was directly observed by scanning electron microscopy, and the individual SNTR containing a single polymer nanofibril was separated and observed by transmission electron microscopy. The sPS synthesized in the SNTR has ultrahigh molecular weight (Mw = 928,000 g/mol) with a large fraction of 2 000,000-5,000,000 g/mol molecular weight polymers.

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