The solvent properties of DMSO are important in the synthesis of chemically resistant polymers and engineering resins.
Dimethyl Sulfoxide has two important features in polymer science.
DMSO is a powerful solvent for dissolving difficult monomers, and will retain high molecular weight polymers in solution. This allows the production of highly solvent resistant engineering resins.
Applications: Polysulfones are commonly prepared from a bis-(p-halophenyl) sulfone and a dihydric compound, such as bisphenol A, in a dipolar aprotic solvent such as Dimethyl Sulfoxide.
While many solvents may compete in the large category of polymer synthesis, DMSO comes into its own regarding high temperature engineering resins such as polysulfones (PES, PS), polyaryletherketones (PEK, PEEK, PEKK).
Because DMSO can dissolve many polymers at high loading levels, it can be used to produce finished products. This has included the use of DMSO to produce membranes and fibers. As a polymer processing solvent, DMSO is used in several ways.
DMSO offers not only performance, but is a safer solvent than the alternatives DMF, NMP and others. Furthermore, it may be recycled and is completely biodegradable.
Dimethyl Sulfide also plays a role in synthesis, both as a solvent and as a reducing agent. Alkylated derivatives of DMS are useful epoxidation reagents. Many organic reactions utilize a borane-Dimethyl Sulfide complex.