The free-radical polymerization of 2,2,2-trifluoroethyl methacrylate (TEMA) was carried out in fluoroalcohols to achieve stereoregulation. The polymerization reactivity at low temperature and syndiotactic specificity were enhanced by the use of fluoroalcohol as a solvent. The polymer having triad syndiotacticity (rr) of 70% was obtained in perfluoro- t -butyl alcohol. It was noted that the stereochemistry was nearly independent of reaction temperature. The stereoeffect of fluoroalcohols seemed to be due to the hydrogen-bonding interaction between the alcohol and the monomer or growing species. The hydrogen-bonding formation was determined by FTIR. The copolymerization of TEMA with methyl methacrylate (MMA) in hexafluoroisopropanol afforded a copolymer with syndiotactic specificity. By this method, a cladding material for an optical fiber based on poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) with high mechanical strength and low refractive index could be obtained.
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