Choi، نويسنده , , Jeongsoo and Kim، نويسنده , , In-Ki and Kwak، نويسنده , , Seung-Yeop، نويسنده ,
A series of star-branched poly(ε-caprolactone)s (SPCLs) was synthesized with structural variation of the arm numbers and lengths through ring-opening polymerization under bulk condition. Arm numbers were varied to be 3, 4, and 6 by using multifunctional initiating cores such as trimethylol propane, pentaerythritol, and dipentaerythritol, respectively. The lengths of the poly(ε-caprolactone) arms were varied by controlling the molar ratio of monomer-to-initiating hydroxyl group molar ratio ([CL]0/[–OH]0=5, 10, 15). Molecular weights were determined by both 1H NMR end-group analysis and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, which gave reasonably consistent values. On the contrary, the GPC method failed to give accurate values of molecular weight of SPCLs due to the discrepancy with the linear standard. The branching architecture of SPCLs was evaluated by the branching ratio, g, which is the ratio of the mean-square radius of SPCL to that of liner counterpart, linear poly(ε-caprolactone) (LPCL), which is of the same chemistry and having the same molecular weight. The radii of gyration of SPCLs and LPCLs were determined using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) from the initial slopes of Zimm plots, represented as 1/I(q) vs q2 with I(q) and q being the scattered intensity and scattering vector, respectively. The g values were observed to decrease with increasing arm numbers, indicating more compact molecular structure for SPCLs with higher arm numbers, while no such effect was observed for arm length variation. Thermal properties as well as the degree of crystallinity of SPCLs were found to be also dependent on structural variations. The melting points and the degradation temperatures were observed to increase with increasing arm lengths but with constant arm number. On the other hand, arm number variation with constant arm length gave no such changes to the thermal transitions of SPCLs. However, for the SPCLs with equivalent molecular weights, the degree of crystallinity was found to decrease with increasing arm numbers.