Relationship between droplet size and fluid flow characteristics in miniemulsion polymerization of methyl methacrylate



Static mixer (SM) can be applied for emulsification, but the fundamental understanding of the nature of fluid flow and mixing in static mixers, is however poor. Droplet size is a very important parameter in miniemulsion systems and affects strongly the mechanism of particle formation in polymerization reactions. In this study, static mixer was used as homogenization device for emulsification of methyl methacrylate (MMA). Re number (Re) was obtained for SM inserted tube in different flow rates. It was demonstrated the nature of fluid flow was turbulent under our experimental conditions. The relationship between droplet size—the most important variable in our study—and Weber number (We) was investigated. The results showed that the ratio of the droplet size to the pipe diameter was fit as an exponential function with an order of −0.35. The polymerization of created droplets under certain We values by SM showed that it is possible to obtain a reasonable 1 : 1 copy of droplets to the particles. All these, indicate that using relationship between We and droplet size allow one to obtain acceptable condition of droplet nucleation in miniemulsion polymerization. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011