Kinetics of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate emulsion polymerization

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Abstract

The kinetics of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate emulsion polymerization are reexamined. The validity of Ugelstad's model for systems with high desorption rate is confirmed by simulating conversion histories for both systems at different initiator concentrations and particle numbers. On the basis of the model, it is shown that at ordinary initiation rates, termination reactions are unimportant with respect to molecular weight development in both systems, and as a consequence, molecular weight development is independent of number and size distribution of polymer particles and of initiator and emulsifier level. Based on this conclusion, it is shown that in accordance with experimental facts, the molecular weight distribution obtained in vinyl chloride emulsion polymerization is the most probable distribution, and it is concluded that the number of long-chain branch points per repetition unit is less than 2 × 10−4 at high conversions. In vinyl acetate emulsion polymerization, an almost logarithmic normal distribution is obtained. The distribution is strongly broadened by branching reactions with the number of long-chain branch points increasing rapidly with monomer conversion. The increase of Mn with increasing conversion is due to terminal double-bond polymerization, while the increase in Mw is due mainly to transfer to polymer.

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