Triptycene-based polymers of intrinsic microporosity for membrane applications
Rose, Ian James
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This project was focused on the synthesis of novel Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) that are soluble in common low boiling point solvents so that self-standing films can be prepared for gas permeability measurements. The common building unit of these novel PIMs was triptycene and its derivatives. Modification of these triptycene compounds enabled the alteration of the polymeric backbone, so that we could tune the gas permeability properties. Modifications included the substitution of different functional groups (e.g. addition of methyl groups) and also the extension via benzoannulation of the triptycene structure. The synthesis of the PIMs was based around three different polymerisation techniques. The first one involved the formation of triptycene-based polyimides (PIs) using a triptycene based dianhydride, prepared in a multistep synthesis. Shorter and cheaper synthetic routes were attempted, but all to no avail. The resulting triptycene monomer was reacted with a variety of commercial and non-commercial bisanilines for the formation of several PIM-PIs, all exhibiting different performances. Robust self-standing films were obtained for two of these PIM polyimides. In addition to the formation of polyimides, the synthesis of Tröger’s Base (TB) polymers, also based on triptycene components, were achieved. This type of polymerisation involves the reaction between a “bisaniline” monomer and a source of “formaldehyde”, such as dimethoxymethane (DMM), in a strong acid media, typically trifluoroacetic acid (TFA). Modification of these triptycene-based bisanilines has led to the formation of TB-PIMs, all with distinctive gas permeation properties. TB-PIM copolymers (reaction between two different bisaniline monomers with DMM and TFA) were synthesised in an attempt to further tune the performance of the polymers. Finally, the preparation of polybenzodioxan polymers based around extended triptycene monomers (i.e. benzotriptycenes) was studied. By using a variety of substituted benzotriptycene biscatechol monomers and performing the polymerisation using tetrafluoroterephthalonitrile, in the presence of K2CO3, the synthesis of a series of substituted benzotriptycene polybenzodioxane polymers was successfully achieved and the polymers showed enhanced gas permeation properties.