Synthesis of amphiphilic poly((R,S)-β-malic acid)-graft-poly(ε-caprolactone): "grafting from" and "grafting through" approaches

Olivier Coulembier, Philippe Degée, Pascal Gerbaux, Pascale Wantier, Christel Barbaud, Robert Flammang, Philippe Guérin, Philippe Dubois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The synthesis of novel amphiphilic graft copolyeaters baaed on Hydrophobic poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) segmente grafted all along a hydrophilic poly((R,S)-β-malic acid) (PMLA) backbone is proposed. These PMLA-g-PCL graft copolymers have been prepared in a controlled way using either the "grafting through" or the "grafting from" technique. Both approaches involve two different well-controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP) mechanisms: anionic ROP of β-lactones, i.e., benzyl or allyl β-malolactonate (MLABz or MLAAllyl), and living ROP of ε-caprolactone (CL) through a so-called coordination-insertion mechanism. The grafting through approach relies upon the anionic copolymerization of MLABz and ω-malolactonate-PCL macromonomer as initiated by potassium carboxylic acid salt in the presence of 1 equiv of 18-crown-6 ether. The second route follows a four-step synthesis involving the anionic ROP of MLABz and MLAAllyl, the conversion of allylic groups into pendant hydroxyl functions owing to a free-radical reaction with thioethanol in the presence of 2,2′-azobis(2-methylpropionitrile), and then the CL polymerization as initiated from these pendant -OH groups after adequate activation into aluminum alkozide active species. Whatever the synthetic approach, the final step consiste of the deprotection of the MLABz repeating units along the backbone via a soft catalytic hydrogenation reaction. The amphiphilic character of the so-prepared graft copolyesters has been evidenced by some preliminary interfacial tension experiments using the pendant drop method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3141-3150
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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