Radiation-induced polymerization of styrene at high dose rates



A kinetic equation was derived for the radiation-induced polymerization of styrene under the assumption that both radical and cationic polymerizations take place concurrently throughout the whole range of the dose rate of radiation and the water content of the styrene. The equation enables one to calculate rates of the total, radical, and cationic polymerization at a given dose rate and water content and agrees satisfactorily with experimental results, which cover dose rates from 4.2 × 10 to 2.1 × 105 rad/sec and water contents from 3.2 × 10−3 to 3.5 × 10−2 mol/l. Experimental estimation of the contribution of radical and cationic mechanisms was done by GPC curves of polymers obtained under various conditions. When the contribution of ionic mechanism is expressed in weight percent, it changes from 0% to 100% in the range of the experiment; on the other hand, if it is expressed in mole percent, it is independent of the dose rate and remains constant throughout the whole range of the experiment.