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Synthesis of styrene–acrylamide copolymer by surfactant-free sonicated dynamic interfacial polymerization


Moshe Narkis, Department of Chemical Engineering, Technion—IIT, Haifa 32000, Israel.



This paper summarizes a study on emulsifier-free ultrasonically assisted in situ dynamic interfacial emulsion copolymerization process of acrylamide and styrene. The resulting emulsions are stable and uniform for several months. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) curves and reaction conversion measurements have provided an important knowledge regarding the emulsifier-free polymerization method. Solvent extractions (water, methanol, and xylene) have shown that the polymerization product is essentially a styrene–acrylamide copolymer. The copolymer produced is a block copolymer, PS-b-PAM, where each block contains small amounts of the other comonomer. The produced emulsions are film forming at room temperature in spite of the very high block Tgs, owing to a unique water plasticization effect of the polyacrylamide blocks. Some films prepared from the PS-b-PAM have resulted in clear and transparent films. The presented interfacial dynamic polymerization process is fast, reaching 81% conversion within 2 hr of sonication at 4°C (low temperature owing to molecular weight and kinetic considerations), and produces very stable PS-b-PAM emulsions. TGA was extensively used as an analytical tool for determination of the reaction parameters and composition of the acrylamide–styrene copolymers. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.