An engineering plastic, poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO), was prepared via oxidative polymerization in water. 4-(2́,6́- Dimethylphenoxy)-2,6-dimethylphenol was stirred in an aqueous alkaline solution with a metal catalyst to yield PPO with a molecular weight of three to four thousand. The formation of diphenoquinone as the side-product was inhibited in this reaction. This reaction is slow but also proceeded under oxygen without a catalyst. The oxidative polymerization in water provides a new polymerization procedure for PPO.
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