Synthesis and characterisation of potentially electrostrictive polymers
The work described in this thesis was concerned with the synthesis of electrostrictive polymers. Electrostrictive elastomers, the so-called artificial muscles, are a recent area of interest due to their potential for application in robots, smart materials and many high-technology devices. The goal of the project was with the synthesis and characterisation of novel low T(_g) polymers bearing highly polar groups in order to produce an electrostrictive effect. The approach to such novel materials was undertaken via two different routes; firstly, the free-radical ring-opening polymerisation of partially fluorinated and alkyl substituted vinyleyclopropane monomers, and secondly, the ring-opening metathesis polymerisation and copolymerisation of partially fluorinated bicyeclo[2.2.1]hept-2-ene monomers. The outcome of the work has been the development of a synthetic route to stable polar polymers with T(_g)S below room temperature.