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There is a growing preference to move away from traditional petrochemical-based polymers toward biobased alternatives. Here, we report the microwave-assisted RAFT polymerization of several terpenoid acrylates (tetrahydrogeraniol, cyclademol, nopol, and citronellol). These biobased monomers give polymers with a broad range of glass transition temperatures and are excellent candidates to substitute oil-based (meth)acrylates in applications such as coatings and adhesives. First, the process was studied in miniemulsion, finding that all terpenoid acrylates showed a substantial increase in both polymerization rate and reaction control when microwave irradiation was applied. These observations were attributed to nonthermal microwave effects, namely, to changes in the kinetic coefficients under irradiation. The reactions were also carried out in solution, where an amplified nonthermal microwave effect was observed. The results indicate that nonthermal microwave effects allow RAFT polymerization of these terpenoid acrylates to proceed with both improved control and at higher polymerization rates compared to using conventional heating.


Thibault Castagnet, Nicholas Ballard, Laurent Billon, José M Asua. Microwave-Assisted Ultrafast RAFT Miniemulsion Polymerization of Biobased Terpenoid Acrylates. Biomacromolecules. 2020 Nov 09;21(11):4559-4568

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PMID: 32786532

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