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Synthesis and thermal properties of polythioether‐based liquid‐crystalline polymers containing azobenzene in the side chain

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BACKGROUND: Owing to the unusual structural rearrangement of polychloromethylthiirane (PCMT) at room temperature, it has not been used as the main‐chain backbone of side‐chain liquid‐crystalline polymers (SLCPs). However, it has been observed that PCMT has a relatively stable and clear structure under special conditions. Therefore, we attempted to synthesize SLCPs using PCMT as main‐chain backbone and investigated their thermal behavior.

RESULTS: New polymers, poly[1‐({(4‐methoxyazobenzene‐4′‐oxy)alkyl}thio)‐2,3‐epithiopropane], in which the number of methylene units in the alkyl group is 4, 5 or 6, were prepared by means of reactions of corresponding (4‐methoxyazobenzene‐4′‐oxy)alkylthiols with PCMT. The structures of these compounds were confirmed using elemental analysis and 1H NMR spectroscopy. The substitution ratios of the copolymers with 4, 5 and 6 methylene units in the alkyl group were 56, 75 and 80%, respectively. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements and polarized optical microscopy observations showed that the resulting copolymers exhibited thermotropic liquid‐crystalline mesomorphism with nematic phase except for the copolymer with a 56% substitution ratio. The decomposition temperature of all the synthesized copolymers was near 195 °C.

CONCLUSION: This investigation has demonstrated that PCMT polymerized for 8 h has the ability to act as a suitable main‐chain backbone for SLCPs. Moreover, SLCPs could be obtained only by the reaction of PCMT with thiolate salt containing mesogenic groups. The substitution ratios increased with increasing number of methylene groups in the spacer. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: azo polymers; isomerization; liquid‐crystalline polymers; polychloromethylthiirane; thiols

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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