Synthesis and solution properties of poly(p,α dimethylstyrene-co-maleic anhydride): The use of a monomer potentially obtained from renewable sources as a substitute of styrene in amphiphilic copolymers

N. Migliore, T. G. Van Kooten, G. Ruggeri, F. Picchioni, P. Raffa*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The use of p,α-dimethylstyrene, potentially obtainable from renewable sources, as a substitute for styrene in the synthesis of amphiphilic copolymers is reported in this work. A series of novel poly(p,α-dimethylstyrene-co-maleic anhydride) (SMA) copolymers was synthesized, characterized, and studied as potential polymeric surfactants. After hydrolysis, the copolymers solution properties were compared to the similar and very well-known styrene-maleic acid copolymers. Both series of copolymers were synthesized using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer-mediated polymerization (RAFT), and a sample of poly(p,α-dimethylstyrene-co-maleic anhydride) was synthesized via classical free radical polymerization. The synthesized copolymers were studied from the point of view of their solution properties, with particular attention to the influence of the macromolecular and chemical structure on the surface tension of their aqueous solutions. Our results suggest that p,α-dimethylstyrene can be employed in copolymers with maleic anhydride, the resulting material being a valid alternative to SMA copolymers for various applications, such as emulsifiers and dispersants. Furthermore, the DMSMA series seems to be slightly more surface active than SMA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105204
Number of pages10
JournalReactive and Functional Polymers
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2022


  • Amphiphilic copolymers
  • Biobased
  • Emulsifiers
  • RAFT
  • Surfactants

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