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Keywords:

  • surfactants;
  • redox system;
  • micellar polymerization;
  • acrylonitrile

Abstract

The polymerization of acrylonitrile (AN) was kinetically studied with a Cr(VI)–cyclohexanone (CH) redox system as an initiator from 25 to 45° C in the presence of a surfactant. The rate of polymerization and the percentage of the monomer conversion increased as the concentration of the anionic surfactant [sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)] increased above its critical micelle concentration. However, the cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) reduced the rate considerably at higher concentrations, whereas the nonionic surfactant (TX-100) had no effect on the rate. The effects of the Cr(VI), CH, AN, and H+ concentrations and the ionic strength on the rates were also examined. The presence of 0.015M SDS reduced the overall activation energy of the polymerization by 5.55 kcal/mol with respect to that in the absence of the surfactant. With increasing SDS concentration, the viscosity-average molecular weight also increased. A suitable mechanistic scheme was proposed for the polymerization process. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 1147–1153, 2004