Polymerization of isoprene with butyllithium in cyclohexane has been studied. The initiation reaction was found to be complex; plots of conversion of butyllithium against time are sigmoidal. The order with respect to the initiator was found to be between one-half and one. The order of the isolated propagation reaction in polyisoprenyllithium was found to be one-quarter and was correlated with a fourfold association of active chain ends determined by dilute solution light-scattering measurements. The major effect of tetrahydrofuran on the reaction was the great increase of the initiation rate. The kinetic order changes slowly with the addition of small amounts of tetrahydrofuran, suggesting that the aggregates are broken down with difficulty. The microstructure of the polymer has been determined by NMR measurements and shows a steady transition from a largely 1:4 to a largely 3:4 structure as the polarity of the solvent is increased by the addition of tetrahydrofuran.

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