The cationic ring-opening polymerization of cyclic ethers

  • Frédéric P. Gouardères

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The kinetics and mechanisms of ring opening polymerization and copolymerizntion of different cyclic ethers were studied using mainly a cationic system of iinitiation. BF30Et2/ethanediol. The cyclic ethers reacted differently showing that ring strain and basicity are the main driving forces in cationic ring opening polymerizaion.
In most cases it was found that the degree of polymerization is controlled kinetically via terminations with the counterion and the monomers, and that the contribution of each type of reaction to the overall termination differs markedly.
The Gel permeation chromatography studies showed that the molecular weight
distribution of the samples of polyoxetanes were bimodal. This was in accordance with previous work establishing that the cyclic tetramer is found in much higher proportions than any of the other cyclic oligomers. However the molecular weight distribution of the copolymers made from oxetane and THF or from oxetane and oxepane were shown to be unimodal. These observations could be explained by a change in the structure of the growing end involved in the cationic polymerization.
In addition crown ethers like dibenzo-crown-6 and compounds such as veratrole are believed to stabilise the propagating end and promote the formation of living polymers from oxetane.

Date of AwardOct 1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAllan J Amass (Supervisor) & Brian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • oxetane
  • polyethers
  • cyclic oligomers
  • back-biting
  • living polymerization

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