Modeling of imperfect mixing and its effects on polymer properties

Authors

  • Simon X. Zhang,

    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
    Current affiliation:
    1. Exxon Chemical Company, 5200 Bayway Drive, Baytown, TX 77520
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  • W. Harmon Ray

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
    • Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
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Abstract

A compartmental model is used to study imperfect mixing and its effects on polymer properties. Examples of imperfect feed mixing caused by a rapidly decomposing initiator are shown for styrene polymerization, high-pressure ethylene polymerization, and vinyl acetate/methyl methacrylate solution copolymerization. Continuation analysis indicates mixing can change reactor steady states and stability. A composite approach is proposed to construct full molecular weight distribution (MWD) under imperfect mixing. In linear polymerization imperfect mixing broadens MWD; however, in nonlinear polymerization mixing can cause either broader or narrower MWD. By changing the dominant chaintermination mechanism to chain transfer, the influence of imperfect mixing on the MWD can be reduced. Depending on reactivity ratio and monomer composition, mixing also affects copolymer composition and chain sequence length.

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