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Abstract

In this work, the free radical continuous polymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) with the solvent xylene and 2,2-Azoisobutyronitrile (AIBN) as initiator was studied in a laboratory Taylor-Couette reactor. It was found that the property of the polymerized product (molecular weight distribution) is affected by the fluid dynamic conditions (mean residence time, rotational speed, diameter of the inner cylinder, and gap width). The weight average molecular weight decreases with an increase of the mean residence time, is strongly dependent on the geometry of the reactor, and was found to be independent on the shear rate in the gap. The width of the molecular weight distribution decreases weakly with increasing residence time, increases with increasing shear rate, and weakly depends on the diameter of the inner cylinder. A correlation was developed to describe the weight-average molecular weight as a function of the Taylor number and the Damköhler number. This correlation is dimensionless and may be used for scaling-up purposes. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers