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High char‐yielding poly[acrylonitrile‐co‐(itaconic acid)‐co‐(methyl acrylate)]: synthesis and properties

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Polyacrylonitrile terpolymers of various compositions consisting of acrylonitrile (AN), itaconic acid (IA) and methyl acrylate (MA) were synthesized by solution polymerization in dimethylsulfoxide. Increase in concentration of either IA or MA retarded the overall polymerization rate and the polymer molecular weight. The system consisting of AN + MA and varying IA concentration was more prone to retardation in comparison with the system composed of AN + IA with variable MA concentration. The retardation factors were quantified. Minor quantities of MA boost the reactivity of IA in the terpolymer system. The terpolymer was richer in MA vis‐à‐vis the feed. The thermal characteristics of the terpolymer were examined as a function of its composition. In contrast to the copolymer of AN and IA requiring 1–1.5 mol% IA, the terpolymer required an IA content of approximately 2.5 mol% for optimum thermal stability. The polymer with 90 mol% AN, 2.5 mol% IA and 7.5 mol% MA exhibited reasonably good char‐forming characteristics and thermal stability. The overall crystallinity and crystallite size of the polymers were found to decrease on incorporation of the comonomers. The ‘aromatization index’ of the copolymer increased with the temperature of pyrolysis through re‐organization of the tetrahydropyridine ladder structure. Copyright © 2005 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: carbon fibre precursor; free radical terpolymerization; high‐char polymers; polyacrylonitrile

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Propellant and Special Chemicals Group, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum 695 022, India

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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