Unraveling Reactivity Differences: Room-Temperature Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization (ROMP) versus Frontal ROMP

Jacob J. Lessard, Edgar B. Mejia, Abbie J. Kim, Zhang Zhang, Mya G. Berkey, Zina S. Medina-Barreto, Randy H. Ewoldt, Nancy R. Sottos, Jeffrey S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we explore the distinct reactivity patterns between frontal ring-opening metathesis polymerization (FROMP) and room-temperature solventless ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). Despite their shared mechanism, we find that FROMP is less sensitive to inhibitor concentration than room-temperature ROMP. By increasing the initiator-to-monomer ratio for a fixed inhibitor/initiator quantity, we find reduction in the ROMP background reactivity at room temperature (i.e., increased resin pot life). At elevated temperatures where inhibitor dissociation prevails, accelerated frontal polymerization rates are observed because of the concentrated presence of the initiator. Surprisingly, the strategy of employing higher initiator loading enhances both pot life and front speeds, which leads to FROMP rates exceeding prior reported values by over 5 times. This counterintuitive behavior is attributed to an increase in the proximity of the inhibitor to the initiator within the bulk resin and to whether the temperature favors coordination or dissociation of the inhibitor. A rapid method was developed for assessing resin pot life, and a straightforward model for active initiator behavior was established. Modified resin systems enabled direct ink writing of robust thermoset structures at rates much faster than previously possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7216-7221
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 20 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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