CATALYSIS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol.8, no.22, pp.5807-5815, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
Imidazole substituted hydrogenated amphiphilic ROMP polymers were used as both surfactants and ligand precursors for olefin metathesis reactions in water. Amphiphilic ROMP polymers were synthesized using a two-step procedure. Firstly, dimethyl-5-norbornene-2,3-dicarboxylate was polymerized using ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP)/cross-metathesis (CM) in the presence of allyl-PEG5000 methyl ether and a Grubbs 3rd generation (G3) catalyst. Secondly, a one-pot hydrogenation/aminolysis protocol was used for the post-polymerization modification of PEG end-capped polynorbornene derivatives. Hydrogenation reactions were carried out using residual G3 in the presence of formic acid/sodium formate in THF at 70 degrees C. The aminolysis reaction was carried out without isolation of the hydrogenated polymer, using triazabicyclodecene (TBD) and 1-(3-aminopropyl)-imidazole, forming imidazole substituted hydrogenated amphiphilic ROMP polymers (mod-Amph1) in an efficient manner. G1-mod-Amph1 formed micelle structures in water with an average particle size of 85.95 (+/- 35) nm as determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis. The diffusion of Grubbs 1st generation (G1) catalyst into the micelle structure has led to the formation of nano-sized catalysts which exhibited a latent characteristic. The diffusion of hydrophobic olefinic substrates into the nano-reaction spaces, followed by activation of the catalyst with HCl led to a very efficient catalytic system for ring-closing metathesis reactions. RCM reactions of various hydrophobic dienes can run in non-degassed water under an air atmosphere. The catalyst system exhibits similar performance under an air atmosphere even in tap water, reaching a conversion value of 90% for RCM of diethyl diallylmalonate with a catalytic loading of 1% Ru.