Controlled polymerization of 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene using reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization has been demonstrated for the first time. 2-Chloro-1,3-butadiene, more commonly known as chloroprene, has significant industrial relevance as a crosslinked rubber, with uses ranging from adhesives to integral automotive components. However, problems surrounding the inherent toxicity of the lifecycle of the thiourea-vulcanized rubber have led to the need for control over the synthesis of poly(2-chloro-1,3-butadiene). To this end, four chain transfer agents in two different solvents have been trialed and the kinetics are discussed. 2-Cyano-2-propylbenzodithioate (CPD) is shown to polymerize 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene in THF, using AIBN as an initiator, with complete control over the target molecular weight, producing polymers with low polydispersities (Mw/Mn < 1.25 in all cases).
Bibliographical noteCreative Commons attribution
Funding: Pera Technology, the European Commission and the EPSRC (Robinson Brothers Ltd). and through funding as part of the Framework Programme 7 SafeRubber project (243756).
Electronic supplementary information (ESI) available: Scheme showing CB
synthesis, GPC traces taken periodically throughout each RAFT polymerization
and spectral data for PCB synthesized using CPD CTA. See DOI: