Copolymers of dimethyl itaconate (DMI) and 4-vinylpyridine (4VP) were synthetized in toluene at 60C with0.26 mol% of AIBN
as initiator. Their compositions were determined by differential refractometry and by differential scanning calorimetry. The
4VP contents of the copolymer samples ranged between 7 and 75 mol%. The reactivity ratios calculated via the Fineman-Ross
method were r1=0.24 (DMI) and r2=0.57 (4VP).
The thermal degradations of these copolymers were studied. The results of thermogravimetric measurements indicated that the
copolymers degrade at lower temperatures than those of their parent homopolymers. A possible explanation of this anomalous
behaviour is the formation of thermally unstable structures during the copolymerisation.