Grafting from ramie fiber with poly(MMA) or poly(MA) via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization
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Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization was utilized to control the grafting of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and methyl acrylate (MA) from natural ramie fibers substrate. The hydroxyl groups of ramie fibers were first converted to 2-dithiobenzoyl isobutyrate as a RAFT chain transfer agent (CTA), which was further grafted with MMA or MA mediated by the RAFT polymerization in a presence of 2-(ethoxycarbonyl)prop-2-yl dithiobenzoate as a free chain transfer agent. Hydrophobic poly(MMA) or poly(MA) modified ramie fibers with contact angles greater than 130° were obtained. The modified ramie fibers were analyzed by gravimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetry and contact angle measurements. The results indicate that the polymer chains had indeed been grafted from the surface of the ramie fibers with an average 33% of the hydroxyl groups in the raw ramie fiber substituted by 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide and an average grafting ratio of 25% poly(MMA) or poly(MA) related to ramie fiber. The homopolymers formed in the copolymerization were also analyzed to estimate molecular weights and polydispersity indices of grafting chains from the surface of ramie fibers by size exclusion chromatography, which showed narrow polydispersity with the PDIs to be <1.32. This study provides a novel and feasible approach to the preparation of functional composite materials for utilizing the abundant natural ramie fiber cellulose resource.
KeywordsRAFT Ramie fiber Grafting polymerization Modification Hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity
Chain transfer agent
Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
Scanning electron microscopy
Differential scanning calorimetry
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Size exclusion chromatography
Energy dispersive spectrometer
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (20070718003).
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