The interest in what were known at first as Friedel-Crafts polymerisations started in the 1930s and grew rapidly from the 1940s under the influence of the US Synthetic Rubber Programme and from the 1950s as a result of the Ziegler-Natta and related polymer developments. From 1944 Professor Plesch has spent most of his academic life, studying the nature of what were later called cationic and, more recently still, cationoid polymerisations. The change of generic title reflects the growing insight into these reactions, much of which is due to Professor Plesch and his research group.
Because of his interest in the fundamentals of the reactions, these researches spawned the new areas of Binary Ionogenic Equilibria and the Polarography of carbenium and oxonium ions in his laboratory.
However it is only the publications on the mechanisms of the cationoid polymerisations that are collected together in this present volume. Each paper or group of papers is preceded by an introductory prologue in which the authors assesses the current relevance of his work and indicates why even the oldest findings are still worth keeping in mind when facing new work.
Professor Plesch directs the ruthless critical scrutiny, for which he became well-known, to his own work, pointing out errors revealed by hindsight.
The eight Sections, each consisting of several thematically related papers, are followed by a complete list of Professor Plesch's chemical publications.
This book is an appropriate sequel to the two books on Cationic Polymerisations edited by Professor Plesch in 1953 and 1963. Like its predecessors, this book will be indispensable to anyone who intends to study the subject and also to those who use the reactions concerned to make rubbers and resins in a chemical plant. Because of the Author's acute sense of continuity and his awareness of 'prior art', these papers will be a useful resource for historians of chemical ideas.
1. General Introduction
2. Developments in the Cationic Polymerisation of Alkenes - A Personal View
4. Theorising About Reaction Mechanisms
5. About Propagating Species and Propagation Rate Constants in Cationic Polymerisations
6. Pseudocationic Polymerisation (?-cat), renamed circa 1998 'Cationoid Insertion Polymerisation (CIP)'
7. The Polymerisation of 1,3-Dioxacycloalkanes
8. The Chemical Publications of P.H. Plesch in Chronological Order, 1946-2001
Professor Plesch was born in 1918, educated at the College Française in Berlin and Harrow School, Middlesex. He graduated from the University of Cambridge (MA) and the University of Manchester (PhD) and was awarded the DSc by the University of Cambridge in 1978. From 1940 he was the colloid chemist at the British Pottery Research Association; he then worked in the alginate industry, and his last War-related assignment was as a Research Assistant at Manchester University. After four years there as Assistant Lecturer he became a founder-member of the University College of North Staffordshire (later Keele University) in 1951There he stayed, retiring in 1985 from the Chair of Physical Chemistry; as Professor Emeritus he still enjoys the hospitality of his old Department.
Professor Plesch has published three books and over 150 chemical papers, the latest appearing in February 2001.