Journal of biomedical materials research

ESR study of MMA polymerization by a peroxide/amine system: bone cement formation.

PMID 10397948


Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy was used to gain insight at the molecular level into the curing of bone cement. Methyl methacrylate was polymerized using a N,N-dimethyl-p-toluidine (TD)/benzoyl peroxide (BPO) redox system in the presence of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) powder. The conventional nine-line ESR spectrum for the growing polymer radical was detected at the gel stage of polymerization. While the optimum free radical concentration was observed near the equimolar amine/BPO concentration, excess amine led to a change in the chemical structure of the trapped radical and inhibited the polymerization process. At a high amine/BPO ratio the nine-line signal disappeared and a three-line nitroxide-based radical appeared. The appearance of this nitroxide signal seems to depend on the amine/BPO molar ratio and on the presence of PMMA. An excess amount of amine with respect to BPO was found to inhibit the polymerization process. When BPO was removed, the system still polymerized but with a longer gelation time and a lower radical concentration. These results demonstrate that trapped free radicals in the bulk polymerization of MMA convert to polymeric peroxides that act as initiators in bone cement. When the accelerator 4-dimethylamino phenethyl alcohol (TDOH) was used, a higher radical concentration was observed in the polymerizing system. TDOH shows potential for being a more effective accelerator than TD for bone cement curing.

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2-[4-(Dimethylamino)phenyl]ethanol, ≥99%