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Title:Investigations of biphasic seeded emulsion polymerizations in a continuous tubular reactor
Author(s):Horn, Alexander Gregory
Director of Research:Guironnet, Damien
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Guironnet, Damien
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kenis, Paul J. A.; Kong, Hyunjoon; Evans, Christopher
Department / Program:Chemical & Biomolecular Engr
Discipline:Chemical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):emulsion polymerization
continuous tubular reactor
Abstract:There have been over 70 years of research into the development of a continuous tubular process for emulsion polymerization. Prior approaches have mostly focused on transposing batch emulsion polymerization recipes into tubular reactors. While this transposition had been successful in producing low solids contents material, it failed at producing industrial-grade latex (>30 w%) due to the accumulation of solids (fouling) against the reactor’s inside wall that ultimately caused the clogging and total failure of the reactor. Therefore, there was a need to develop an alternative strategy for the stable production of high solid contents latex having any composition in a continuous flow tubular reactor. My PhD work has been to develop a new strategy to perform the seeded emulsion polymerization in a continuous tubular reactor. Chapter 1 will review the historical development of tubular and packed column reactors for continuous emulsion polymerizations up to the state of the art. Chapter 2 will cover the development of a methodology to monitor the number of particles during emulsion polymerization and the determination of surfactant quantity required to stabilize PMMA particles during emulsion polymerization. This chapter describes the mathematical basis for the methodology developed to monitor the number of particles. It also describes the batch and semi-batch experiments used to determine the surfactant loadings used to stabilize the PMMA particles. Chapter 3 will cover the development of continuous tubular reactors including the physical process as well as the major results and conclusions from studies conducted in each process. This chapter describes the evolution of the continuous tubular reactors’ design from a stringed semi-batch polymerization process to the continuous biphasic plug flow tubular reactor presented in chapter 4. Chapter 4 will cover a novel strategy for the synthesis of high solids content latex in a continuous biphasic plug flow tubular reactor. This chapter describes the first use of a biphasic feed to produce high solids content latex. Chapter 5 will cover a mass transfer study conducted in the continuous biphasic plug flow reactor to determine a strategy to improve the rate of polymerization. In this chapter, the polymerization in the biphasic plug flow reactor is determined to be a diffusion-limited system. Then the primary interface for MMA mass transfer a strategy to improve the rate of polymerization can be recommended. Chapter 6 will cover studies into fouling in the continuous flow tubular process using pre-emulsified and biphasic feeds. This chapter demonstrates that the biphasic feed is better than the pre-emulsified feed at cleaning the tubular reactor of fouling. Chapter 7 will cover investigations into the use of two nanogels as seeds for the emulsion polymerization of MMA. This chapter describes several investigations, first to determine the nanogel latex’s stability at a range of pHs, temperatures and initiator loadings; second, nanogel ability to polymerize; and third the nanogel’s ability to swell.
Issue Date:2021-04-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Alexander G Horn
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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