Journal of polymer science part a-polymer chemistry vol:33 issue:8 pages:1283-1292
Thermal degradation of poly(methyl-n-hexylsilane) in the solid state in absence of oxygen reveals formation of a cyclic pentamer between 150 and 250 degrees C. Polymer is gradually degraded to an intermediate molecular weight distribution. The weight average of this new distribution is not only temperature-dependent, but is also a function of viscosity of the polymer and nature of chain ends. As no insolubles or Si-H groups are formed, the degradation mechanism is most likely a back-biting mechanism induced by active chain ends such as silyl anions or Si-Cl rather than a homolytic cleavage of the main chain. A concurrent intramolecular rearrangement reaction is also proposed. Moreover, this study proposes an explanation to the trimodal molecular weight distribution obtained by the Wurtz coupling of dichlorosilanes with molten sodium in refluxing toluene. (C) 1995 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.