Activation of alkyl hydroperoxides by manganese complexes of tmtacn for initiation of radical polymerisation of alkenes

Linda E. Eijsink, Andy S. Sardjan, Esther G. Sinnema, Hugo den Besten, Yanrong Zhang, Ronald Hage, Keimpe J. van den Berg, Jitte Flapper, Ben L. Feringa, Wesley R. Browne*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The activation of alkyl hydroperoxides to generate radicals is a key step in the initiation of radical polymerisations in many industrial applications, not least protective coatings. Cobalt soaps (Co(II) alkyl carboxylates) are highly effective catalysts under ambient conditions but viable alternatives based on less scarce catalysts are desirable, with especially iron and manganese catalysts showing potential. Manganese complexes of the ligand N,N′,N″-trimethyl-1,4,7-triazacyclononane (tmtacn) are long established as catalysts for organic oxidations with H2O2, however their reactivity with alkyl hydroperoxides is less studied especially in apolar solvents. Here we show that this family of complexes can be employed as catalysts for the decomposition of alkyl hydroperoxides in apolar solvents such as styrene/methyl methacrylate mixtures and resins based on styrene/bisphenol-A based diglycidyl ether bismethacrylate (BADGE-MA). The progress of alkene polymerisation in crosslinking resins is followed by Raman spectroscopy to establish its dependence on the oxidation state of the manganese catalyst used, as gelation time and onset of autoacceleration are of particular interest for many applications. We show, through reaction progress monitoring with UV/vis absorption and Raman spectroscopy, that the stability of the manganese complexes in the resin mixtures has a substantial effect on curing progress and that the oxidation state of the resting state of the catalyst is most likely Mn(II), in contrast to reactions with H2O2 as oxidant in which the oxidation state of the resting state of catalyst is Mn(III). Manganese complexes of tmtacn are shown to be capable initiators of alkene radical polymerisations, and their rich coordination and redox chemistry means that resin curing kinetics can potentially be tuned more readily than with cobalt alkyl carboxylates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberd4cy00042k
Pages (from-to)2423-2433
Number of pages11
JournalCatalysis Science and Technology
Volume14
Issue number9
Early online date13-Mar-2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7-May-2024

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