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Keywords:

  • emulsion polymerization;
  • miniemulsion polymerization;
  • tubular reactor;
  • stabilization;
  • particle formation

Abstract

An investigation of the use of continuous tubular reactors for the production of polymeric latices is presented. In an initial step, it is demonstrated that tubular reactors can be used to produce latices by conventional emulsion polymerization at solids contents of up to 30% by volume. Under these conditions, the kinetics are identical to those found in batch reactors (as expected), and stable operating conditions are obtained, usually after one to two residence times. The use of a miniemulsion in a tubular reactor was also investigated, and it is demonstrated that in this case, solids contents of at least 60% can be obtained under stable operating conditions. It is therefore proposed that difficulties in operating tubular reactors with conventional emulsion polymerization arise essentially from the presence of monomer droplets in the early stages of the reaction. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 2195–2207, 2004