We have prepared (AB)n-multiblock copolymers based on N-(3′-hydroxyphenyl)trimellitimide (IM), 4- hydroxybenzoic acid (HBA), and 6-hydroxy-2-naphthoic acid (HNA) via a simple one-pot melt condensation method. The blocky nature is the result of phase separation taking place in the early stages of the melt polymerization process. The liquid crystal HBA/HNA fraction phase separates from the isotropic HBA/IM fraction and this phase separation effectively shuts down transesterification reactions, preventing randomization of the polymer backbone. The (AB)n-multiblock copoly- (esterimide)s exhibit two distinct glass transition temperatures (Tgs). The first Tg at ∼120 °C can be assigned to the HBA/HNA rich A-block and the second Tg at ∼220 °C can be assigned to the HBA/IM rich B-block. When introducing imide-based phenylethynyl end-groups, these reactive functionalities end-up exclusively at the termini of the HBA/IM rich B-blocks, effectively forming a phenylethynyl-terminated B(AB)n-reactive oligomer. Upon thermal treatment, cross-linking via the phenylethynyl end-groups results in a thermoset where the Tg of the B-block increases by as much as ∼106 °C. The Tg of the HBA/HNA A-block remains unchanged. Scanning electron microscopy experiments show a gradual change in morphology, from a typical fibrous LCP texture for the HBA/HNA rich polymers to a more consolidated morphology for the HBA/IM rich polymers. Atomic force microscopy images confirm the presence of two distinct domains when 44 mol % of HBA was replaced by IM. The “hard” imide rich B-blocks form domains of ∼100−200 nm that are embedded in the imide poor or “soft” A-blocks.
Guan, Q., Norder, B., Chu, L., Besseling, K., Picken, S., & Dingemans, T. (2016). All-aromatic (AB)n-multiblock copolymers via simple one-step melt condensation chemistry. Macromolecules, 49, 8549-8561. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.macromol.6b01341