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Plasma ınduced solid state polymerization of n-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM)

Ünver, Alper
Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) is a smart polymer exhibiting an inverse temperature-solubility relationship with a sharp transition at 32°C in its aqueous solution. Due to its reversible thermo-responsive phase transition behavior at around body temperature, PNIPAM promise a potential for a variety of novel applications especially in biotechnology and medicine. PNIPAM can be produced by conventional polymerization methods, as well as by use of ionizing radiation, primarily by gamma which leads mainly to a residual-free crosslinked polymer. In this study, RF plasma (glow discharge) technique is used as a novel synthesis method in solid state leading to higher proportions of linear polymer. Since plasma method is an additive-/initiator-free process, a residual-free polymer is expected. To obtain a better understanding of the plasma induced solid state polymerization mechanism of NIPAM, X-ray data are used. It is found that crystalline structures of Acrylamide (AAm) and NIPAM are isomorphous. Plasma and post plasma aging effects on crystalline structure of NIPAM are followed. From the Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) investigations it is observed that post plasma polymerization of NIPAM in solid state proceed by radicalic mechanism. After determination of temperature range in which the radical formed by plasma treatment of NIPAM is highly stable, decay kinetics of the propagating radical in solid state after plasma treatment has been studied in detail.