Evaluation of CO2-philicity of poly(vinyl acetate) and poly(vinyl acetate-alt-maleate) copolymers through molecular modeling and dissolution behavior measurement.

Research paper by Dongdong D Hu, Shaojun S Sun, Peiqing P Yuan, Ling L Zhao, Tao T Liu

Indexed on: 20 Jan '15Published on: 20 Jan '15Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B


Multiscale molecular modeling and dissolution behavior measurement were both used to evaluate the factors conclusive on the CO2-philicity of poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc) homopolymer and poly(vinyl acetate-alt-maleate) copolymers. The ab initio calculated interaction energies of the candidate CO2-philic molecule models with CO2, including vinyl acetate dimer (VAc), dimethyl maleate (DMM), diethyl maleate (DEM), and dibutyl maleate (DBM), showed that VAc was the most CO2-philc segment. However, the cohesive energy density, solubility parameter, Flory-Huggins parameter, and radial distribution functions calculated by using the molecular dynamics simulations for the four polymer and polymer-CO2 systems indicated that poly(VAc-alt-DBM) had the most CO2-philicity. The corresponding polymers were synthesized by using free radical polymerization. The measurement of cloud point pressures of the four polymers in CO2 also demonstrated that poly(VAc-alt-DBM) had the most CO2-philicity. Although copolymerization of maleate, such as DEM or DBM, with PVAc reduced the polymer-CO2 interactions, the weakened polymer-polymer interaction increased the CO2-philicity of the copolymers. The polymer-polymer interaction had a significant influence on the CO2-philicity of the polymer. Reduction of the polymer-polymer interaction might be a promising strategy to prepare the high CO2-philic polymers on the premise that the strong polymer-CO2 interaction could be maintained.