Branching (chemistry)
Overview
 
In polymer chemistry
Polymer chemistry
Polymer chemistry or macromolecular chemistry is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers or macromolecules. According to IUPAC recommendations, macromolecules refer to the individual molecular chains and are the domain of chemistry...

, branching occurs by the replacement of a substituent
Substituent
In organic chemistry and biochemistry, a substituent is an atom or group of atoms substituted in place of a hydrogen atom on the parent chain of a hydrocarbon...

, e.g., a hydrogen atom
Hydrogen atom
A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force...

, on a monomer
Monomer
A monomer is an atom or a small molecule that may bind chemically to other monomers to form a polymer; the term "monomeric protein" may also be used to describe one of the proteins making up a multiprotein complex...

 subunit, by another covalently bonded
Covalent bond
A covalent bond is a form of chemical bonding that is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons is known as covalent bonding....

 chain of that polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

; or, in the case of a graft copolymer, by a chain of another type. In crosslinking
Cross-link
Cross-links are bonds that link one polymer chain to another. They can be covalent bonds or ionic bonds. "Polymer chains" can refer to synthetic polymers or natural polymers . When the term "cross-linking" is used in the synthetic polymer science field, it usually refers to the use of...

 rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 by vulcanization
Vulcanization
Vulcanization or vulcanisation is a chemical process for converting rubber or related polymers into more durable materials via the addition of sulfur or other equivalent "curatives." These additives modify the polymer by forming crosslinks between individual polymer chains. Vulcanized material is...

, short sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 branches link polyisoprene
Isoprene
Isoprene , or 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, is a common organic compound with the formula CH2=CCH=CH2. Under standard conditions it is a colorless liquid...

 chains (or a synthetic
Chemical synthesis
In chemistry, chemical synthesis is purposeful execution of chemical reactions to get a product, or several products. This happens by physical and chemical manipulations usually involving one or more reactions...

 variant) into a multiply branched thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 elastomer
Elastomer
An elastomer is a polymer with the property of viscoelasticity , generally having notably low Young's modulus and high yield strain compared with other materials. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, although the latter is preferred...

. Rubber can also be so completely vulcanized that it becomes a rigid solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

, so hard it can be used as the bit in a smoking pipe.
Encyclopedia
In polymer chemistry
Polymer chemistry
Polymer chemistry or macromolecular chemistry is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers or macromolecules. According to IUPAC recommendations, macromolecules refer to the individual molecular chains and are the domain of chemistry...

, branching occurs by the replacement of a substituent
Substituent
In organic chemistry and biochemistry, a substituent is an atom or group of atoms substituted in place of a hydrogen atom on the parent chain of a hydrocarbon...

, e.g., a hydrogen atom
Hydrogen atom
A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force...

, on a monomer
Monomer
A monomer is an atom or a small molecule that may bind chemically to other monomers to form a polymer; the term "monomeric protein" may also be used to describe one of the proteins making up a multiprotein complex...

 subunit, by another covalently bonded
Covalent bond
A covalent bond is a form of chemical bonding that is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons is known as covalent bonding....

 chain of that polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

; or, in the case of a graft copolymer, by a chain of another type. In crosslinking
Cross-link
Cross-links are bonds that link one polymer chain to another. They can be covalent bonds or ionic bonds. "Polymer chains" can refer to synthetic polymers or natural polymers . When the term "cross-linking" is used in the synthetic polymer science field, it usually refers to the use of...

 rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 by vulcanization
Vulcanization
Vulcanization or vulcanisation is a chemical process for converting rubber or related polymers into more durable materials via the addition of sulfur or other equivalent "curatives." These additives modify the polymer by forming crosslinks between individual polymer chains. Vulcanized material is...

, short sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 branches link polyisoprene
Isoprene
Isoprene , or 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, is a common organic compound with the formula CH2=CCH=CH2. Under standard conditions it is a colorless liquid...

 chains (or a synthetic
Chemical synthesis
In chemistry, chemical synthesis is purposeful execution of chemical reactions to get a product, or several products. This happens by physical and chemical manipulations usually involving one or more reactions...

 variant) into a multiply branched thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 elastomer
Elastomer
An elastomer is a polymer with the property of viscoelasticity , generally having notably low Young's modulus and high yield strain compared with other materials. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, although the latter is preferred...

. Rubber can also be so completely vulcanized that it becomes a rigid solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

, so hard it can be used as the bit in a smoking pipe. Polycarbonate
Polycarbonate
PolycarbonatePhysical PropertiesDensity 1.20–1.22 g/cm3Abbe number 34.0Refractive index 1.584–1.586FlammabilityV0-V2Limiting oxygen index25–27%Water absorption – Equilibrium0.16–0.35%Water absorption – over 24 hours0.1%...

 chains can be crosslinked to form the hardest, most impact-resistant thermosetting plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

, used in safety glasses
Glasses
Glasses, also known as eyeglasses , spectacles or simply specs , are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes. They are normally used for vision correction or eye protection. Safety glasses are a kind of eye protection against flying debris or against visible and near visible light or...

.http://www.pslc.ws/macrog/pc.htm

Branching may result from the formation of carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

-carbon or various other types of covalent bonds
Chemical bond
A chemical bond is an attraction between atoms that allows the formation of chemical substances that contain two or more atoms. The bond is caused by the electromagnetic force attraction between opposite charges, either between electrons and nuclei, or as the result of a dipole attraction...

. Branching by ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

 and amide
Amide
In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

 bonds is typically by a condensation reaction, producing one molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

 of water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 (or HCl
Hydrogen chloride
The compound hydrogen chloride has the formula HCl. At room temperature, it is a colorless gas, which forms white fumes of hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric humidity. Hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are important in technology and industry...

) for each bond formed.

Polymers which are branched but not crosslinked are generally thermoplastic
Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic, also known as a thermosoftening plastic, is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently...

. Branching sometimes occurs spontaneously during synthesis of polymers; e.g., by free-radical polymerization
Radical polymerization
Free radical polymerization is a method of polymerization by which a polymer forms by the successive addition of free radical building blocks. Free radicals can be formed via a number of different mechanisms usually involving separate initiator molecules...

 of ethylene
Ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

 to form polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

. In fact, preventing branching to produce linear
Line (mathematics)
The notion of line or straight line was introduced by the ancient mathematicians to represent straight objects with negligible width and depth. Lines are an idealization of such objects...

 polyethylene requires special methods. Because of the way polyamide
Polyamide
A polyamide is a polymer containing monomers of amides joined by peptide bonds. They can occur both naturally and artificially, examples being proteins, such as wool and silk, and can be made artificially through step-growth polymerization or solid-phase synthesis, examples being nylons, aramids,...

s are formed, nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 would seem to be limited to unbranched, straight chains. But "star" branched nylon can be produced by the condensation of dicarboxylic acid
Dicarboxylic acid
Dicarboxylic acids are organic compounds that contain two carboxylic acid functional groups. In molecular formulae for dicarboxylic acids, these groups are often written as HOOC-R-COOH, where R may be an alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl, or aryl group...

s with polyamine
Polyamine
A polyamine is an organic compound having two or more primary amino groups .This class of compounds includes several synthetic substances that are important feedstocks for the chemical industry, such as ethylene diamine , 1,3-diaminopropane , and hexamethylenediamine...

s having three or more amino groups. Branching also occurs naturally during enzymatically-catalyzed
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

 polymerization
Polymerization
In polymer chemistry, polymerization is a process of reacting monomer molecules together in a chemical reaction to form three-dimensional networks or polymer chains...

 of glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

 to form polysaccharide
Polysaccharide
Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

s such as glycogen
Glycogen
Glycogen is a molecule that serves as the secondary long-term energy storage in animal and fungal cells, with the primary energy stores being held in adipose tissue...

 (animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s), and amylopectin
Amylopectin
Amylopectin is a soluble polysaccharide and highly branched polymer of glucose found in plants. It is one of the two components of starch, the other being amylose.Glucose units are linked in a linear way with α glycosidic bonds...

, a form of starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 (plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s). The unbranched form of starch is called amylose
Amylose
Amylose is a linear polymer made up of D-glucose units.This polysaccharide is one of the two components of starch, making up approximately 2-30% of the structure...

.

The ultimate in branching is a completely crosslinked network
Graph (mathematics)
In mathematics, a graph is an abstract representation of a set of objects where some pairs of the objects are connected by links. The interconnected objects are represented by mathematical abstractions called vertices, and the links that connect some pairs of vertices are called edges...

 such as found in Bakelite, a phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

-formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

 thermoset resin.


Special types of branched polymer

  • A graft polymer molecule is a branched polymer molecule in which one or more the side chains are different, structurally or configurationally, from the main chain.
  • A star polymer molecule is a branched polymer molecule in which a single branch point gives rise to multiple linear chains or arms. If the arms are identical the star polymer molecule is said to be regular. If adjacent arms are composed of different repeating subunits, the star polymer molecule is said to be variegated.
  • A comb polymer molecule consists of a main chain with two or more three-way branch points and linear side chains. If the arms are identical the comb polymer molecule is said to be regular.
  • A brush polymer
    Polymer brush
    Polymer brush is a layer of polymers attached with one end to a surface. The brushes may be either in a solvent state, when the dangling chains are submerged into a solvent, or in a melt state, when the dangling chains completely fill up the space available...

    molecule consists of a main chain with linear, unbranched side chains and where one or more of the branch points has four-way functionality or larger.
  • A polymer network is a network in which all polymer chains are interconnected to form a single macroscopic entity by many crosslinks. See for example thermosets or interpenetrating polymer network
    Interpenetrating polymer network
    An Interpenetrating polymer network is a polymer comprising two or more networks which are at least partially interlaced on a polymer scale but not covalently bonded to each other...

    s.
  • A dendrimer
    Dendrimer
    Dendrimers are repetitively branched molecules. The name comes from the Greek word "δένδρον" , which translates to "tree". Synonymous terms for dendrimer include arborols and cascade molecules. However, dendrimer is currently the internationally accepted term. A dendrimer is typically symmetric...

     is a repetitively branched compound.

Branching in radical polymerization

In free radical polymerization
Radical polymerization
Free radical polymerization is a method of polymerization by which a polymer forms by the successive addition of free radical building blocks. Free radicals can be formed via a number of different mechanisms usually involving separate initiator molecules...

, branching occurs when a chain curls back and bonds to an earlier part of the chain. When this curl breaks, it leaves small chains sprouting from the main carbon backbone. Branched carbon chains cannot line up as close to each other as unbranched chains can. This causes less contact between atoms of different chains, and fewer opportunities for induced or permanent dipoles to occur. A low density results from the chains being further apart. Lower melting points and tensile strength
Tensile strength
Ultimate tensile strength , often shortened to tensile strength or ultimate strength, is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before necking, which is when the specimen's cross-section starts to significantly contract...

s are evident, because the intermolecular bonds are weaker and require less energy to break.

The problem of branching occurs during propagation, when a chain curls back on itself and breaks - leaving irregular chains sprouting from the main carbon backbone. Branching makes the polymers less dense and results in low tensile strength and melting points. Developed by Karl Ziegler
Karl Ziegler
Karl Waldemar Ziegler was a German chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963, with Giulio Natta, for work on polymers. The Nobel Committee recognized his "excellent work on organometallic compounds [which]...led to new polymerization reactions and ... paved the way for new and highly...

 and Giulio Natta
Giulio Natta
Giulio Natta was an Italian chemist and Nobel laureate. He won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 with Karl Ziegler for work on high polymers.-Early years:...

  in the 1950s, Ziegler-Natta catalyst
Ziegler-Natta catalyst
A Ziegler–Natta catalyst is a catalyst used in the synthesis of polymers of 1-alkenes . Three types of Ziegler–Natta catalysts are currently employed:* Solid and supported catalysts based on titanium compounds...

s (triethylaluminium
Triethylaluminium
Triethylaluminium is an organoaluminium compound. This volatile, colorless liquid is highly pyrophoric, igniting immediately upon exposure to air. It is normally stored in stainless steel containers either as a pure liquid or as a solution in hydrocarbon solvents such as hexane, heptane, or ...

 in the presence of a metal(IV) chloride) largely solved this problem. Instead of a free radical reaction
Free radical reaction
A free radical reaction is any chemical reaction involving free radicals. This reaction type is abundant in organic reactions.Two pioneering studies into free radical reactions have been the discovery of the triphenylmethyl radical by Moses Gomberg and the lead-mirror experiment described by...

, the initial ethene monomer inserts between the aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 atom and one of the ethyl group
Ethyl group
In chemistry, an ethyl group is an alkyl substituent derived from ethane . It has the formula -C2H5 and is very often abbreviated -Et.Ethylation is the formation of a compound by introduction of the ethyl functional group, C2H5....

s in the catalyst. The polymer is then able to grow out from the aluminium atom and results in almost totally unbranched chains. With the new catalysts, the tacticity
Tacticity
Tacticity is the relative stereochemistry of adjacent chiral centers within a macromolecule. The practical significance of tacticity rests on the effects of tacticity on the physical properties of the polymer...

 of the polypropene chain, the alignment of alkyl groups, was also able to be controlled. Different metal chlorides allowed the selective production of each form i.e., syndiotactic, isotactic and atactic polymer chains could be selectively created.

However there were further complications to be solved. If the Ziegler-Natta catalyst was poisoned or damaged then the chain stopped growing. Also, Ziegler-Natta monomers have to be small, and it was still impossible to control the molecular mass of the polymer chains. Again new catalysts, the metallocene
Metallocene
A metallocene is a compound typically consisting of two cyclopentadienyl anions bound to a metal center in the oxidation state II, with the resulting general formula 2M. Closely related to the metallocenes are the metallocene derivatives, e.g. titanocene dichloride, vanadocene dichloride...

s, were developed to tackle these problems. Due to their structure they have less premature chain termination and branching.

Branching index

The branching index measures the effect of long-chain branches on the size of a macromolecule in solution. It is defined as g = b2>/l2>, where sb is the mean square radius of gyration
Radius of gyration
Radius of gyration or gyradius is the name of several related measures of the size of an object, a surface, or an ensemble of points. It is calculated as the root mean square distance of the objects' parts from either its center of gravity or an axis....

of the branched macromolecule in a given solvent, and sl is the mean square radius of gyration of an otherwise identical linear macromolecule in the same solvent at the same temperature. A value greater than 1 indicates an increased radius of gyration due to branching.


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK