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Macromol Rapid Commun. 2011 Jan 3;32(1):63-7. doi: 10.1002/marc.201000375. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Revisiting chain transfer to polymer and branching in controlled radical polymerization of butyl acrylate.

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Institute for Polymer Materials, POLYMAT and Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Departamento de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, University of Basque Country, Joxe Mari Korta zentroa, Tolosa etorbidea 72, Donostia-San Sebastián 20018, Spain.


Acrylic monomers undergo chain transfer to polymer during polymerization leading to branched and even gelled polymers. It has been experimentally demonstrated that the extent of branching is higher for conventional free radical polymerization than for controlled radical polymerization (ATRP, RAFT, NMP) and this has been qualitatively explained in terms of the differences in the concentrations of highly reactive short-chain radicals between controlled and conventional radical polymerizations. Contrary to this explanation, in this work, it is quantitatively demonstrated that the short transient lifetime of the radicals, i.e., the time between activation and deactivation of the radical in controlled radical polymerization, is the cause for the low level of branching in these polymerizations.

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