Get access

Thin film solvent-free photopolymerization of n-butyl acrylate. I. Static film studies

Authors

  • K. V. K. Boodhoo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Process Intensification & Innovation Centre, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
    • Process Intensification & Innovation Centre, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • W. A. E. Dunk,

    1. Process Intensification & Innovation Centre, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. S. Jassim,

    1. Process Intensification & Innovation Centre, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • R. J. Jachuck

    1. Process Intensification & Innovation Centre, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The results are presented for a detailed investigation involving the free-radical photopolymerization of n-butyl acrylate in the form of thin static films. The aim of this work is to benchmark the performance of a novel thin film spinning disk reactor that may be used for the continuous production of linear polymers using photoinitiation. Industrially relevant film thicknesses (200 μm to 1 mm) are studied as opposed to earlier work that looked into extremely thin films (5–25 μm). Such extreme film thicknesses will be difficult to sustain in a thin film reactor without adversely affecting the wettability of the reaction surface and the uniformity of the film. The effects of four main variables (film thickness, UV intensity, initiator concentration, and exposure time) are studied under static film conditions. A 366-nm wavelength is utilized for the UV radiation with 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone (Irgacure 651) as the photoinitiator dissolved in n-butyl acrylate. The molecular weights, polydispersities, and monomer conversions are measured by gel permeation chromatography. In a 400 μm thick film, conversions of >90% can be achieved with an exposure time of 40 s at a radiation intensity of 175 mW/cm2. The results using the same polymerization system in the spinning disk reactor are presented and compared with the static film results in Part II of this series. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 2079–2095, 2004

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary