, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 537-543

Studies of moisture induced crosslinking in a novel vinyl ether-maleic anhydride copolymer

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A novel vinyl ether, 2,2-dimethyl-4-vinyloxymethyl-l,3-dioxolane (DMVMD), that has a dimethyl ketal protected vicinal diol functionality, was synthesizied from readily available starting materials, such as glycerol, acetone and acetylene. Copolymerisation of DMVMD with maleic anhydride (MAH) in various molar ratios was carried out using a free radical initiator. The composition of the copolymer was established by conductometric titration, and was found to be 1:1 irrespective of the monomer feed composition thus establishing its alternating nature. The copolymer formed clear free standing films upon solvent casting which became insoluble upon prolonged exposure to ambeint atmosphere. The insolubility is ascribed to moisture induced crosslinking. A plausible mechanism for the crosslinking involves the hydrolysis of some of the anhydride groups, followed by acid catalysed deketalization, and then by the reaction of the alcoholic groups, thus generated, with the residual anhydride to give ester crosslinks. This hypothesis was confirmed both by model reactions and insitu FT-IR studies.