Synthesis and characterization of maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene with a well-defined molecular structure

Min Zhang, Ralph H. Colby, Scott T. Milner, T. C.Mike Chung, Tianzi Huang, Willem Degroot

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56 Scopus citations


Despite the commercial importance of maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP-g-MAH), it has long been a scientific challenge to prepare this polymer with a well-controlled molecular structure. This paper discusses a new chemical route that can form PP-g-MAH with desirable MAH content, a single MAH incorporated unit, white color, high molecular weight, and narrow molecular weight and composition distributions. The chemistry involves a unique PP-co-p-BT copolymer as the "reactive intermediate" that can be effectively prepared by metallocene-mediated copolymerization of propylene and p-(3-butenyl)toluene (p-BT), with narrow molecular weight and composition distributions, high molecular weight, and a broad range of p-BT contents. The incorporated p-BT comonomer units provide the reactive sites for the subsequent free radical MAH graft reaction under a suspension condition at a low reaction temperature. The resulting PP-g-MAH polymers were carefully examined by a combination of NMR and GPC measurements, which shows almost no change in polymer molecular weight and distribution and a single MAH incorporation (no oligomerization). The incorporated MAH units increase with the increase of initiator concentration, p-BT content, and reaction time. Evidently, the combination of high reactivity of φ-CH3 moiety, a favorable mixing condition between the reactive sites and chemical reagents in the swollen amorphous phases, and low reaction temperature results in MAH grafting reaction selectively taking place at the φ-CH3 moieties without side reactions (i.e., chain degradation and MAH oligomerization). In addition, this suspension reaction process presents an economic method to prepare PP-g-MAH with high polymer content and easy product purification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4313-4323
Number of pages11
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 11 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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