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Title: Structural Evolution of Polylactide Molecular Bottlebrushes: Kinetics Study by Size Exclusion Chromatography, Small Angle Neutron Scattering and Simulations

Structural evolution from poly(lactide) (PLA) macromonomer to resultant PLA molecular bottlebrush during ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) was investigated for the first time by combining size exclusion chromatography (SEC), small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD) simulations. Multiple aliquots were collected at various reaction times during ROMP, and subsequently analyzed by SEC and SANS. The two complementary techniques enable the understanding of systematic changes in conversion, molecular weight and dispersity as well as structural details of PLA molecular bottlebrushes. CG-MD simulation not only predicts the experimental observations, but it also provides further insight into the analysis and interpretation of data obtained in SEC and SANS experiments. We find that PLA molecular bottlebrushes undergo three conformational transitions with increasing conversion (i.e., increasing the backbone length): (1) from an elongated to a globular shape due to longer side chain at lower conversion, (2) from a globular to an elongated shape at intermediate conversion caused by excluded volume of PLA side chain, and (3) the saturation of contour length at higher conversion due to chain transfer reactions.
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  1. ORNL
  2. Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Macro Letters; Journal Volume: 3
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS); Spallation Neutron Source; Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
ORNL LDRD Director's R&D; SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States