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A high molecular weight acrylonitrile copolymer prepared by mixed solvents polymerization: II. effect of DMSO/water ratios on polymerization and stabilization

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A bifunctional comonomer β-methylhydrogen itaconate was synthesized to prepare high molecular weight poly [acrylonitrile-co-(β-methylhydrogen itaconate)] [P (AN-co-MHI)] by mixed solvents polymerization, which was used as carbon fiber precursor instead of acrylonitrile terpolymers. The effect of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)/deionized water ratios on the polymerization, structure and stabilization of P (AN-co-MHI) was studied by elemental analysis, UV-Visible Spectroscopy, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The highest viscosity-average molecular weight (76.72 × 104 g/mol) of P(AN-co-MHI) was obtained in the mixed solvents of DMSO/deionized water = 10/90 (wt/wt) due to the zero chain transfer constant of deionized water for radical ~ ~ ~AN·, which is 10 times larger than that of P(AN-co-MHI) copolymers prepared in DMSO solution polymerization under the same conditions and is beneficial to improving the tensile strength of resulting carbon fiber. The composition of P(AN-co-MHI) was controlled by the ratio of DMSO/deionized water in the mixed solvents, it is attributed to the changes of AN/MHI ratio taking part in the polymerization reactions, which is caused by the different solubility of AN in the mixed solvents. From elemental analysis and FTIR studies, it can be found out that the content of MHI in P(AN-co-MHI) copolymer becomes larger with the increase of DMSO content in the mixed solvents. The FTIR, XRD and DSC results show that the stabilization of P(AN-co-MHI) copolymer was significantly improved by MHI compared with PAN homopolymer and poly (acrlonitrile-methyl acrylate-acrylic acid) terpolymer, such as larger extent of stabilization, lower initiation temperature and smaller E a of cyclization, which is beneficial to preparing high performance carbon fiber.

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Financial support of this work from National Natural Science Funds of China (No. 51503086), Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20140159), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2014 M561570), Jiangsu Planned Projects for Postdoctoral Research Funds (No. 1402195C) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No JUSRP11450) was gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Baojiang Liu.

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Ju, A., Yu, H., Yan, Y. et al. A high molecular weight acrylonitrile copolymer prepared by mixed solvents polymerization: II. effect of DMSO/water ratios on polymerization and stabilization. J Polym Res 23, 208 (2016).

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