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Poly(N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide), a thermoresponsive non-ionic polymer combining the amide and the ethyleneglycolether motifs

: Hechenbichler, M.; Laschewsky, A.; Gradzielski, M.


Colloid and polymer science (2020), Online First, 15 S.
ISSN: 0303-402X
ISSN: 0023-2904
ISSN: 1435-1536
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Poly(N,N-bis(2-methoxyethyl)acrylamide) (PbMOEAm) featuring two classical chemical motifs from non-ionic water-soluble polymers, namely, the amide and ethyleneglycolether moieties, was synthesized by reversible addition fragmentation transfer (RAFT) polymerization. This tertiary polyacrylamide is thermoresponsive exhibiting a lower critical solution temperature (LCST)–type phase transition. A series of homo- and block copolymers with varying molar masses but low dispersities and different end groups were prepared. Their thermoresponsive behavior in aqueous solution was analyzed via turbidimetry and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The cloud points (CP) increased with increasing molar masses, converging to 46 °C for 1 wt% solutions. This rise is attributed to the polymers’ hydrophobic end groups incorporated via the RAFT agents. When a surfactant-like strongly hydrophobic end group was attached using a functional RAFT agent, CP was lowered to 42 °C, i.e., closer to human body temperature. Also, the effect of added salts, in particular, the role of the Hofmeister series, on the phase transition of PbMOEAm was investigated, exemplified for the kosmotropic fluoride, intermediate chloride, and chaotropic thiocyanate anions. A pronounced shift of the cloud point of about 10 °C to lower or higher temperatures was observed for 0.2 M fluoride and thiocyanate, respectively. When PbMOEAm was attached to a long hydrophilic block of poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) (PDMAm), the cloud points of these block copolymers were strongly shifted towards higher temperatures. While no phase transition was observed for PDMAm-b-pbMOEAm with short thermoresponsive blocks, block copolymers with about equally sized PbMOEAm and PDMAm blocks underwent the coil-to-globule transition around 60 °C.