Synthesis of zwitterionic copolymers via copper-mediated aqueous living radical grafting polymerization on starch

Yifei Fan, Nicola Migliore, Patrizio Raffa, Ranjita K. Bose, Francesco Picchioni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


[2-(Methacryloyloxy)ethyl]dimethyl-(3-sulfopropyl)ammonium hydroxide (SBMA) is a well-studied sulfobetaine-methacrylate as its zwitterionic structure allows the synthesis of polymers with attractive properties like antifouling and anti-polyelectrolyte behavior. In the present work, we report the Cu0-mediated living radical polymerization (Cu0-mediated LRP) of SBMA in sodium nitrate aqueous solution instead of previously reported solvents like trifluoroethanol and sodium chloride aqueous/alcoholic solution. Based on this, starch-g-polySBMA (St-g-PSBMA) was also synthesized homogeneously by using a water-soluble waxy potato starch-based macroinitiator and CuBr/hexamethylated tris(2-aminoethyl)amine (Me6TREN) as the catalyst. The structure of the macroinitiator was characterized by 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, gHSQC, and FT-IR, while samples of PSBMA and St-g-PSBMA were characterized by 1H-NMR and FT-IR. Monomer conversion was monitored by 1H-NMR, on the basis of which the reaction kinetics were determined. Both kinetic study and GPC results indicate reasonable controlled polymerization. Furthermore, a preliminary study of the thermal response behavior was also carried through rheological tests performed on aqueous solutions of the prepared materials. Results show that branched zwitterionic polymers are more thermal-sensitive than linear ones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number192
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jan-2019


  • Anti-polyelectrolyte behavior
  • Cu-mediated living radical polymerization
  • Starch copolymer
  • Zwitterionic polymer
  • ATRP

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