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Customized Polymerization

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Customized Polymerization

Polymers are made of repeating organic/inorganic monomer units. In polymer chains the carbon atoms are bonded together, due to the nature of carbon, one or more other atoms can be attached to each carbon atom in the backbone chain. Polyethylene (PE) is made from ethylene which only has carbon and hydrogen atoms, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has chlorine attached to the all-carbon backbone. The property of polymer is determined by its structure, functional groups, molecular weight and distribution. For example, polymers with high molecular weight (MW) usually show stronger mechanical property than the ones with lower MW. In order to meet the requirements of specific applications, custom polymer synthesis is always necessary.

Polymer synthesis, also called polymerization, is the process by which monomers (small molecules) are covalently bonded to form a (usually long) polymer chain or network. Based on the initial system of the chemical reaction, polymerization method can be divided into four categories: bulk, suspension, emulsion and condensation polymerization. The key to obtain polymers with desired molecular weight and narrow polydispersity is the use of a properly selected polymerization method that affords optimal controllability and durability during the polymer synthesis. Controlled radical polymerization (CRP) offers such an opportunity. Compared to conventional bulk polymerization methods, CRP minimizes the side reactions and allows synthesis of unprecedented functional polymers with narrow molecular weight distribution while retaining the tolerance of free radical polymerization (FRP) to various reaction conditions. The control over molecular weight is achieved by a dynamic equilibrium between active (growing radical) and dormant (deactivated) species so that the active species is present at low concentrations at any moment. There has developed three main controlled and living approaches to synthesize polymers: reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), and nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP). At Matexcel, we utilize all types of polymerization technique to synthesize specialty polymers. Our customized polymerization service includes, but not limited to:

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