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For the first time, the controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of ε-thionocaprolactone (tnCL) is conducted. The organocatalytic ROP of tnCL occurs without carbonyl scrambling, leading to homopoly(ε-thionocaprolactone) (PtnCL). The ROP by base catalysts alone is proposed to proceed via a nucleophilic mechanism, while the addition of an H-bond donating thiourea (TU) is shown to provide excellent reaction control. The increased reaction control provided by the TU occurs in the virtual absence of binding between tnCL and TU, and a mechanistic account for this observation is discussed. The monomer ring strain is measured and found to be similar to δ-valerolactone (VL). Copolymers with VL are synthesized, and the resulting analysis of the copolymer materials properties provides the only known physical characterizations of poly(thio(no)ester-co-ester)s.

Kiesewetter_Controlled_2016_SuppInfo.pdf (1038 kB)
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