On-line control of a semibatch emulsion polymerization reactor based on calorimetry

Authors

  • Isabel Sáenz de Buruaga,

    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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  • Antonio Echevarría,

    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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  • Philip D. Armitage,

    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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  • José C. de la Cal,

    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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  • José R. Leiza,

    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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  • José M. Asua

    Corresponding author
    1. Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
    • Grupo de Ingeniería Química, Dept. de Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 1072, 20080 San Sebastián, Spain
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Abstract

In this work, on-line calorimetry was used to estimate the conversion and the copolymer composition in emulsion polymerization systems. Real-time feedback control of the polymer composition during the semibatch emulsion copolymerization of vinyl acetate and butyl acrylate was carried out. Both homogeneous copolymers and copolymers with previous defined composition profiles were obtained. It was shown that the feedback control was able to avoid monomer accumulation in the reactor, and hence potentially dangerous thermal runaways, without any deleterious effect on the polymer composition, when a sudden inhibition was caused by deliberately adding a solution of hydroquinone. The use of feedback control for the maximization of the production rate under safe conditions in the unseeded emulsion copolymerization of vinyl acetate and VeoVa10 (an alkyl vinyl ester from Shell) is also presented.

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