Hindered lithium dialkylamide initiators for the living anionic polymerization of methacrylic esters

Timothy Edward Long*, R. A. Guistina, B. A. Schell, J. E. Mcgrath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Lithium diisopropylamide is an efficient initiator for the anionic polymerization of methyl methacrylate in polar solvents at –78°C. Predictable molecular weights based on the initiator concentration were obtained, yields were quantitative, and molecular weight distributions were relatively narrow (<1.30). The presence of an amino end group and confirmation of the initiation mechanism were confirmed by potentiometric titration using HClO4. Number‐average molecular weights determined by titration agreed well with values determined by SEC. Other lithium dialkylamides that contain larger alkyl groups such as lithium diisobutylamide were less efficient initiators. This was attributed to the more nucleophilic anion due to less steric hindrance near the nitrogen atom. Molecular weight distributions were significantly broadened (>2.0), and molecular weight control was not achieved. However, polymer yields were quantitative. In all cases, PMMA stereochemistry was indicative of a solvent‐separated lithium counterion, and triad compositions were identical to organolithium initiated homopolymers, i.e., 78% syndiotactic, 20% heterotactic, and 2% isotactic. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2425-2430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • anionic
  • living
  • methyl methacrylate
  • polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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