Synthetic and kinetic investigations into living free-radical polymerisation used in the preparation of polymer therapeutics
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The aim of this work was to successfully prepare polymers of N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide, (PHPMA) using controlled/"living" free-radical polymerisation technique. For this purpose, atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation (chain) transfer (RAFT) polymerisation were used in preparation of a number of base polymers with the intention of quantitatively converting them into PHPMA. Both methods were applied under varying polymerisation conditions, and the kinetics of the systems investigated. Various rate constants were measured, while computer modelling of the experimental data allowed estimation of other kinetic parameters of interest. Investigations into solvent and ligand effects on the kinetics of ATRP of the activated ester methacryloyloxy succinimide (MAOS) and one of the archetypal methacrylate monomers, methyl methacrylate (MMA) were carried out. The method of RAFT was also employed in polymerisation of MAOS and a number of other monomers in the hope of finding the best synthetic precursor of PHPMA. Polymers of methacryloyl chloride (MAC) and p-nitrophenyl methacrylate (NPMA) were prepared, as well as the polymers of HPMA itself and N-isopropyl methacrylamide. Polymerisation of MMA by RAFT was also attempted in view of adding to current knowledge on the monomer's behaviour and the kinetic characteristics of its RAFT polymerisation. Preparation of PHPMA from PMAOS, PMAC and PNPMA was attempted. Successful preparation of PHPMA from the polymer of the acid chloride was achieved under mild reaction conditions, while displacement of N-hydroxysuccinimide groups of PMAOS resulted in unexpected modification of the polymer under the conditions used. Conversion of PNPMA into PHPMA was not achieved. At this stage these results suggest inadequacy of both PMAOS and PNPMA as reactive polymeric precursors.