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|Title:||CONTROL OF KEY POLYMER PROPERTIES VIA REVERSIBLE ADDITION-FRAGMENTATION CHAIN TRANSFER IN EMULSION POLYMERIZATION|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
School of Chemical and Bio-Molecular Engineering
|Abstract:||Free radical emulsion polymerization (FRP) is widely adopted in industry due to its applicability to a wide range of monomers. Despite its many benefits and wide spread use, the fast chain growth and the presence of rapid irreversible termination impose limitations with respect to the degree of control in FRP. Furthermore, producing block copolymers and polymers with complex structures via FRP is not feasible. Closer control of macromolecular chain structure and molar mass, using novel polymerization techniques, is required to synthesize and optimize many new polymer products. Reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)-mediated polymerization is a novel controlled living free radical technique used to impart living characters in free radical polymerization. In combination with emulsion polymerization, the process is industrially promising and attractive for the production of tailored polymeric products. It allows for the production of particles with specially-tailored properties, including size, composition, morphology, and molecular weights. The mechanism of RAFT process and the effect of participating groups were discussed with reviews on the previous work on rate retardation. A mathematical model accounting for the effect of concentrations of propagating, intermediate, dormant and dead chains was developed based on their reaction pathways. The model was combined with a chain-length dependent termination model in order to account for the decreased termination rate. The model was validated against experimental data for solution and bulk polymerizations of styrene. The role of the intermediate radical and the effect of RAFT agent on the chain length dependent termination rate were addressed theoretically. The developed kinetic model was used with validated kinetic parameters to assess the observed retardation in solution polymerization of styrene with high active RAFT agent (cumyl dithiobenzoate). The fragmentation rate coefficient was used as a model parameter, and a value equal to 6×104 s-1 was found to provide a good agreement with the experimental data. The model predictions indicated that the observed retardation could be attributed to the cross termination of the intermediate radical and, to some extent, to the RAFT effect on increasing the average termination rate coefficient. The model predictions showed that to preserve the living nature of RAFT polymerization, a low initiator concentration is recommended. In line with the experimental data, model simulations revealed that the intermediate radical prefers fragmentation in the direction of the reactant. The application of RAFT process has also been extended to emulsion polymerization of styrene. A comprehensive dynamic model for batch and semi-batch emulsion polymerizations with a reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer process was developed. To account for the integration of the RAFT process, new modifications were added to the kinetics of zero-one emulsion polymerization. The developed model was designed to predict key polymer properties such as: average particle size, conversion, particle size distribution (PSD), and molecular weight distribution (MWD) and its averages. The model was checked for emulsion polymerization processes of styrene with O-ethylxanthyl ethyl propionate as a RAFT based transfer agent. By using the model to investigate the effect of RAFT agent on the polymerization attributes, it was found that the rate of polymerization and the average size of the latex particles decreased with increasing amount of RAFT agent. It was also found that the molecular weight distribution could be controlled, as it is strongly influenced by the presence of the RAFT based transfer agent. The effects of RAFT agent, surfactant (SDS), initiator (KPS) and temperature were further investigated under semi-batch conditions. Monomer conversion, MWD and PSD were found to be strongly affected by monomer feed rate. With semi-batch mode, Mn and <r> increased with increasing monomer flow rate. Initiator concentration had a significant effect on PSD. The results suggest that living polymerization can be approached by operating under semi-batch conditions where a linear growth of polymer molecular weight with conversion was obtained. The lack of online instrumentation was the main reason for developing our calorimetry-based soft-sensor. The rate of polymerization, which is proportional to the heat of reaction, was estimated and integrated to obtain the overall monomer conversion. The calorimetric model developed was found to be capable of estimating polymer molecular weight via simultaneous estimation of monomer and RAFT agent concentrations. The model was validated with batch and semi-batch emulsion polymerization of styrene with and without RAFT agent. The results show good agreement between measured conversion profiles by calorimetry with those measured by the gravimetric technique. Additionally, the number average molecular weight results measured by SEC (GPC) with double detections compare well with those calculated by the calorimetric model. Application of the offline dynamic optimisation to the emulsion polymerization process of styrene was investigated for the PSD, MWD and monomer conversion. The optimal profiles obtained were then validated experimentally and a good agreement was obtained. The gained knowledge has been further applied to produce polymeric particles containing block copolymers. First, methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and styrene were polymerized separately to produce the first block. Subsequently, the produced homopolymer attached with xanthate was chain-extended with another monomer to produce block copolymer under batch conditions. Due to the formation of new particles during the second stage batch polymerization, homopolymer was formed and the block copolymer produced was not of high purity. The process was further optimized by operating under semi-batch conditions. The choice of block sequence was found to be important in reducing the influence of terminated chains on the distributions of polymer obtained. It has been found that polymerizing styrene first followed by the high active acrylate monomers resulted in purer block copolymer with low polydispersity confirmed by GPC and H-NMR analysis.|
|Description:||Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Engineerig|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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