End group polarity and block symmetry effects on cloud point and hydrodynamic diameter of thermoresponsive block copolymers

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Department of Chemistry


Thermoresponsive block copolymers are of interest for delivery vehicles in the body. Often an interior domain is designed for the active agent and the exterior domain provides stability in the bloodstream, and may carry a targeting ligand. There is still much to learn about how block sequence and chain end identity affect micelle structure, size, and cloud points. Here, hydrophilic oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate and more hydrophobic di(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate monomers were polymerized to give amphiphilic block copolymers with amphiphilic chain ends. The block sequence and chain end identity were both controlled by appropriate choice of RAFT chain transfer agents to study the effect of 'matched' and 'mismatched' chain end polarity with amphiphilic block sequence. The affect of matching or mismatching chain end polarity and block sequence was studied on the hydrodynamic diameter, cloud point, and temperature range of the chain collapse on linear di- and triblock copolymers and star diblock polymers. The affects of matching or mismatching chain end polarity were significant with linear diblock copolymers but more complex with triblock and star copolymers. Explanations of these results may help guide others in designing thermoresponsive block copolymers.

Publisher's Statement

© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/pola.27757

Publication Title

Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry