Modeling evidence in support of coagulative nucleation theory



An extensive lumped model was developed for emulsion polymerization. It incorporated all of the complex processes: aqueous-phase radical balances for all radical species arising from initiator decomposition and from exit; determination of radical number inside the particles by balance among rates of radical entry into, exit from, and termination inside the particles; determination of the monomer concentration inside the particles and in the aqueous phase by a thermodynamic equation; and particle formation by micellar, homogeneous, and coagulative nucleation. Model validation was done for the system with styrene (monomer), potassium persulfate (initiator), and sodium dodeceyl sulfate (emulsifier) and for the variables, which included the duration of nucleation, conversion at the end of nucleation, and total number of particles formed. The validation process revealed that coagulation during nucleation needed to be included in the model, even for emulsifier concentrations above the critical micelle concentration. The model predictions were in good quantitative agreement with the experimental data. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011.