Enhancing Adhesion Properties of Commodity Polymers through Thiol-Catechol Connectivities: A Case Study on Polymerizing Polystyrene-Telechelics via Thiol-Quinone Michael-Polyaddition

 New paper released in ACS Macro Letters.

Background: By incorporating only 3 mol% of thiol-catechol connectivities (TCCs) as functional adhesive groups into large polystyrene block copolymers could increase adhesive strength by up to 600% while keeping the integrity of the polymer segments.

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Abstract: Segmented block copolymers with adhesive functionality bridges in between are synthesized through the combination of controlled radical polymerization (CRP) and thiol-quinone Michael-polyaddition. CRP provides a set of α,ω-dithiol polystyrenes (PS), which react as telechelics with a low molecular weight bisquinone, resulting in thiol-catechol connectivities (TCCs). By introducing as little as 3 mol % of TCC functionalities, the bonding of the polymer on dry and wet aluminum surfaces is significantly improved while keeping the integrity of the PS segments undisturbed to constitute favorable bulk properties. This improvement is evidenced by reaching up to 3.8 MPa adhesive strength, representing a 600% increase compared to nonfunctional PS.
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