Boron sneaks polarity into polystyrene

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 408-409
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6374.408-g

The properties of plastics can often benefit from the use of a mix of polar and nonpolar building blocks in their preparation. However, these different building blocks may be chemically incompatible or vary substantially in their solubility and reactivity, complicating synthetic planning. Van de Wouw et al. used boron and nitrogen to endow a nonpolar monomer with latent prospects for polarization. The BN aromatic was easily copolymerized with styrene. Peroxide treatment then replaced the dangling boron-bearing ring with a hydroxyl group that would have been challenging to introduce evenly at the outset.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 10.1002/anie.201711650 (2018).

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