Thiol-yne photopolymerizations: Novel mechanism, kinetics, and step-growth formation of highly cross-linked networks

Benjamin D. Fairbanks, Timothy F. Scott, Christopher J. Kloxin, Kristi S. Anseth, Christopher N. Bowman

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299 Citations (Scopus)


Radical-mediated thiol-yne step-growth photopolymerizations are utilized to form highly cross-linked polymer networks. This reaction mechanism is shown to be analogous to the thiol-ene photopolymerization; however, each alkyne functional group is capable of consecutive reaction with two thiol functional groups. The thiol-yne reaction involves the sequential propagation of a thiyl radical with either an alkyne or a vinyl functional group followed by chain transfer of the radical to another thiol. The rate of thiyl radical addition to the alkyne was determined to be approximately one-third of that to the vinyl. Chain-growth polymerization of alkyne and vinyl functionalities was only observed for reactions in which the alkyne was originally in excess. Analysis of initial polymerization rates demonstrated a near first-order dependence on thiol concentration, indicating that chain transfer is the rate-determining step. Further analysis revealed that the polymerization rate scaled with the initiation rate to an exponent of 0.65, deviating from classical square root dependence predicted for termination occurring exclusively by bimolecular reactions. A tetrafunctional thiol was photopolymerized with a difunctional alkyne, forming an inherently higher cross-link density ťhan an analogous thiol-ene resin, displaying a higher glass transition temperature (48.9 vs -22.3°C) and rubbery modulus (80 vs 13 MPa). Additionally, the versatile nature of this chemistry facilitates postpolymerization modification of residual reactive groups to produce materials with unique physical and chemical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

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