Grafting-from cellulose nanocrystals via photoinduced Cu-mediated reversible-deactivation radical polymerization
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In this work we describe the grafting of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) by surface-initiated photoinduced Cu-mediated reversible-deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP). Initially, CNCs obtained through sulfuric acid hydrolysis were functionalized with a tertiary bromo-ester moiety as an initiating group for the subsequent RDRP of methyl acrylate, targeting three different degrees of polymerization for the polymer grafts: 50, 300 and 600. The polymerizations proceeded in DMSO in the presence of CuBr2 and Me6TREN as the catalytic system utilizing a UV source (λmax≈360nm). The technique proved highly versatile for the modification of CNCs with poly(methyl acrylate), where considerably high grafting was achieved in short reaction times (90min), with simple purification steps. CNC morphology was maintained and polymer grafts were evident through FT-IR spectroscopy, thermal analysis, contact angle measurements, X-ray photoelectron microscopy and x-ray diffraction.
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