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Fluorination of Polymers Using Difluorocarbene Improves Oxidative and Chemical Stability

Technology #z00077

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Marc A. Hillmyer, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry, School of Science and Engineering
External Link (chem.umn.edu)
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
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Fluorinated polymers and methods for their preparation

US Patent 6433101
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Fluorination of Polymers Term Sheet [PDF]

Difluorocarbene for Fluorinating Polymers

A method for the fluorination of polymers uses difluorocarbene to produce desired fluorinated polymers. Difluorocarbene is a reactive species that can rapidly react with certain unsaturated parts of the polymer chain. The reaction works under mild conditions and provides a low cost method of synthesizing fluorinated polymers.

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Fluorination of Polymers Increases Chemical and Oxidative Stability

The incorporation of fluorine into synthetic and biological polymers can lead to materials with improved physical characteristics such as enhanced strength, improved chemical and oxidative stability, and low surface energy.  Current techniques used to incorporate fluorine into polymers use chemically aggressive treatments such as elemental fluorine, sulfur hexafluoride and hydrofluoric acid.  These treatments can lead to a low product yield, loss of functionality, decrease in molecular weight and undesired cross linking reactions. Consequently, most fluorinated polymers are synthesized using fluorine containing monomers, which can is expensive.

BENEFITS OF FLUORINATED POLYMERS USING DIFLUOROCARBENE:

  • Generally increased strength, oxidative and chemical stability, and lower surface energy than non-fluorinated polymers.
  • Produces fluorinated polymers under mild conditions.
  • Generally lower cost approach than using fluorinated monomers.