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Keywords:

  • poly(methyl methacrylate);
  • emulsion polymerisation;
  • molecular weight distribution;
  • chain transfer agent;
  • iso-octyl-3-mercaptopropionate

Abstract

The unseeded batch-emulsion polymerisation of methyl methacrylate (MMA) was investigated using the chain transfer agent iso-octyl-3-mercaptopropionate (iOMP), which exhibits a low environmental impact. The commercial iOMP is a mixture of over 10 isomers that proved adequate to control the molecular weights of poly(methyl methacrylate) with a decreasing evolution of both the number- and weight-average molecular weights along the reactions. The iOMP also affects the polymerisation kinetics as a consequence of the lower reactivity of the iOMP radicals with respect to the MMA-ended radicals. Experimental results were interpreted with the help of a first principles mathematical model. © 2013 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering