Tunable Thermal Degradation of Poly(vinyl butyl carbonate sulfone)s via Side-Chain Branching

Olivia P. Lee, Hector Lopez Hernandez, Jeffrey S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymeric materials that depolymerize into volatiles on command may function as vanishing substrates or packaging for transient electronics. Poly(vinyl tert-butyl carbonate sulfone) is known to afford low-boiling byproducts upon heat-activated degradation; however, the polymer is rather unstable, even to the degree of being difficult to process and handle. Understanding the origin of this instability is important for the development of robust materials capable of programmed self-destruction. In this work, we show that poly(vinyl tert-butyl carbonate sulfone)s thermally decompose via carbonate elimination as the rate-determining step, indicating that its thermal instability stems from the lability of the tert-butyl carbonate group. We further examined the effect of isomeric butyl carbonate side chains on the thermal degradation of poly(vinyl butyl carbonate sulfone)s and found that the degradation onsets range from 91 to 213°C, yielding as little as 2.77 ± 0.53 wt % residue. Results from our findings will aid in the development of vanishing polymers with tunable thermal degradation. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-668
Number of pages4
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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