Study on bulk polymerization of methyl methacrylate initiated by low intensity ultrasonic irradiation



Methyl methacrylate (MMA) was polymerized in bulk solutions using low intensity ultrasonic radiation of 0.25 W/cm2. The polymerization occurred after 1 h of irradiation time was applied. The polymerization rate was greatly accelerated either by increasing the amount of poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) granular added into the system or by elongating the irradiation time. However, it was found that the reaction rate increased with the decreasing of the ultrasonic frequencies when the exposure time of the polymerization under the irradiation was less than 3 h. Experimental results verified that the polymerization was initiated by free radicals, which were mainly generated from the degradation of PMMA macromolecular chains, the friction between the polymer macromolecular chains and the solvent monomer. These findings were obviously different from those obtained when high intensity ultrasonic irradiation was used. The polymers fabricated in this study by using ultrasound irradiation have a narrower molecular weight distribution compared to those obtained from the polymerizations induced by the conventional initiators. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010