Polymer Engineering Faculty Research

Liquid Crystalline Ionomers: 2. Synthesis and Characterization of a Main-Chain Liquid Crystalline Polymer Containing Terminal Sulfonate Groups

Robert Weiss, The University of Akron


Liquid crystalline ionomers containing sulfonate groups on the terminal unit of the chain were synthesized by an interfacial condensation reaction of 4,4′-dihydroxy-α,α′-dimethyl benzalazine, the monofunctional dye fast yellow (FY), and a 50/50 mixture of sebacoyl and dodecanedioyl dichlorides. The weight-average molecular weights were estimated from inherent viscosity measurements to be between 6000–11,000 and the sodium sulfonate concentrations ranged from 0–18.4 meq/100 g polymer. Elemental analyses, however, indicated much higher molecular weights, which suggested that there was a distribution of chains with one, two, or no FY endgroups. The polymers were semicrystalline and melted at ca. 140°C to form nematic mesophases that were stable over a temperature range of ca. 80°C. They were thermally stable to about 350°C. The ionomeric nature of the polymers was confirmed by the presence of intermolecular associations in nonpolar solvents, as demonstrated by dilute solution viscosity measurements.