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Stability of SG1 nitroxide towards unprotected sugar and lithium salts: a preamble to cellulose modification by nitroxide-mediated graft polymerization

Abstract : The range of applications of cellulose, a glucose-based polysaccharide, is limited by its inherently poor mechanical properties. The grafting of synthetic polymer chains by, for example, a "grafting from" process may provide the means to broaden the range of applications. The nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP) method is a technique of choice to control the length, the composition and the architecture of the grafted copolymers. Nevertheless, cellulose is difficult to solubilize in organic media because of inter and intramolecular hydrogen bonds. One possibility to circumvent this limitation is to solubilize cellulose in N,N-dimethyl-formamide (DMF) or N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMA) with 5 to 10 wt % of lithium salts (LiCl or LiBr), and carry out grafted polymerization in this medium. The stability of nitroxides such as SG1 has not been studied under these conditions yet, even though these parameters are of crucial importance to perform the graft modification of polysaccharide by NMP. The aim of this work is to offer a model study of the stability of the SG1 nitroxide in organic media in the presence of unprotected glucose or cellobiose (used as a model of cellulose) and in the presence of lithium salts (LiBr or LiCl) in DMF or DMA. Contrary to TEMPO, SG1 proved to be stable in the presence of unprotected sugar, even with an excess of 100 molar equivalents of glucose. On the other hand, lithium salts in DMF or DMA clearly degrade SG1 nitroxide as proven by electron-spin resonance measurements. The instability of SG1 in these lithium-containing solvents may be explained by the acidification of the medium by the hydrolysis of DMA in the presence of LiCl. This, in turn, enables the disproportionation of the SG1 nitroxide into an unstable hydroxylamine and an oxoammonium ion. Once the conditions to perform an SG1-based nitroxide-mediated graft polymerization from cellobiose have been established, the next stage of this work will be the modification of cellulose and cellulose derivatives by NMP.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 4:43:49 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 1:12:02 PM

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Guillaume Moreira, Laurence Charles, Mohamed Major, Florence Vacandio, Yohann Guillaneuf, et al.. Stability of SG1 nitroxide towards unprotected sugar and lithium salts: a preamble to cellulose modification by nitroxide-mediated graft polymerization. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, Beilstein-Institut, 2013, 9, pp.1589--1600. ⟨10.3762/bjoc.9.181⟩. ⟨hal-01460475⟩

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