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FREE RADICAL POLYMERIZATION OF NOVEL COPOLYMER; ETHYLENE-CO-DIETHYL METHYLENE MALONATE COPOLYMERS

Abstract
Ethylene copolymers are widely used as packaging materials, adhesives and specialty polymers for well-regarded cost savings, durability, chemical resistance, and hot melt character. This work examines the use of diester monomers known as malonates to determine the plausibility of utilizing an uncommon monomer class for producing novel ethylene copolymers. Ethylene is copolymerized with diethyl methylene malonate—a simple malonate representative of more complex and highly modified malonate monomers and macromers—to produce ethylene-co-diethyl methylene malonate in a range of molecular weights. Ethylene-co-diethyl methylene malonate is analyzed to determine physical properties such as glass transition temperature, chain length and monomer incorporation. Successful copolymerization occurred under a range of temperatures and pressures in tetrahydrofuran, diethyl carbonate, and dimethyl carbonate. The produced polymers were found to have a molecular weight of 15-46 kg/mol, a glass transition temperature of 7°C, a melting temperature of 108°C, and a cold crystallization temperature of 64°C. The high concentration of a radical source inhibitor in the diethyl methylene malonate monomer solution negatively impacted molecular weight and ethylene incorporation.
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