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Keywords:

  • emulsion polymerization;
  • intermediate termination;
  • kinetics (polym.);
  • polystyrene (PS);
  • reversible addition/fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)

Abstract

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

To understand if either of two controversial models for the retardation by RAFT agents is applicable, styrene polymerization using dithiobenzoate as the RAFT agent is carried out in both bulk and miniemulsion systems with the same rates of radical generation and the same RAFT agent concentrations. Miniemulsion polymerization with average diameters of the miniemulsion droplets of ≈107 nm is by far faster than in bulk, and the obtained rate of polymerization agrees well with the calculated results assuming a bimolecular termination between propagating radical and intermediate radical, generated by the addition reaction of propagating radical to the RAFT agent, which shows that the intermediate termination is the major reason for rate retardation by the RAFT agent.