Polar Thermoplastics with Tunable Physical Properties Enabled by the Stereoregular Copolymerization of Vinyl Ethers

A series of isotactic, semicrystalline vinyl ether copolymers (up to 94% meso diads) were synthesized using a chiral BINOL-based phosphoric acid in combination with a titanium Lewis acid. This stereoselective cationic polymerization enabled the systematic tuning of both glass-transition (Tg) and melting temperature (Tm) in copolymers derived from alkyl vinyl ethers (i.e., ethyl, butyl, isobutyl). Additionally, a vinyl ether comonomer bearing an acyl-protected alcohol was utilized as a platform for post-functionalization. Copolymers containing the masked alcohols were shown to undergo facile deprotection and subsequent coupling with a desired acid chloride. Collectively, these results highlight the diverse material properties and expanded chemical space accessible through stereoselective cationic polymerization mediated by a chiral anion.