Li+ Catalyzed Radical Polymerization of Simple Alkenes
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA, and Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic, Prague
The history of the discovery of Li+ catalyzed radical polymerization of simple alkenes is described. Particular attention is paid to the radical polymerization of isobutene, which yields a previously unknown highly branched polymer. Under oxidizing conditions, radical and cationic polymerizations proceed concurrently and yield a separable mixture of branched and linear polyisobutene. The role of serendipity in scientific discovery is pointed out.
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