Radical Polymerization of Vinyl Boronate Involving Backbiting Chain Transfer and Post-Polymerization Oxidation Affording Branched Poly(vinyl alcohol)s

02 April 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We found radical polymerization of vinyl boronic acid pinacol ester (VBpin) was accompanied by a back-biting chain transfer reaction to polymer backbone and thus branched chains were generated via the propagation from the mid-chain radical. The subsequent oxidation for the boron pendant afforded a branched poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), which was certainly supported by NMR structural analyses. The synthesis of the branched PVA is inaccessible via radical polymerization of vinyl acetate (VAc) and subsequent saponification because the VAc polymerization favors the chain transfer reaction to pendant methyl group over that to the backbone. Our effort was also directed to tuning branch degree via copolymerization of VBpin with VAc for studies in effects of branch degree on the physical properties, such as solubility in water and crystallization in bulk state.


Radical polymerization
Poly(vinyl alcohol)
Branched polymer
Post-polymerization transformation

Supplementary materials

SI (Supporting Information)
Detailed description of synthetic procedures, experimental methods, IR, 1H and 13C NMR spectra, GPC analysis, DSC measurement


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