PEG was found to be a template in the oxidative polymerization of phenol in water.174 175 The presence of the PEG template in an aqueous medium greatly improved the regioselectivity of the polymerization, yielding a phenol polymer with the phenylene unit content higher than 90%. During the reaction, the polymer was produced in high yields as precipitates in complexing with PEG. The molecular weight of PEG strongly affected the polymer yield. The unit molar ratio of polyphone and PEG was ca. 1:1. The FT-IR and DSC analyses exhibited the formation of the miscible complex of the phenolic polymer and PEG by hydrogen-bonding interaction. PEG monododecyl ether, a commercially available non-ionic surfactant, was also a good template for the polymerization of phenol in water.176
Advantages for enzymatic synthesis of phenolic polymers are summarized as follows145: (i) the polymerization of phenols proceeds under mild reaction conditions without use of toxic reagents (environmentally benign process); (ii) phenol monomers having various substituents are polymerized to give a new class of functional polyaromatics; (iii) the structure and solubility of the polymer can be controlled by changing the reaction conditions; (iv) the procedures of the polymerization as well as the polymer isolation are very convenient.
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