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Emulsion Polymerization. I. Recalculation And Extension Of The Smith‐Ewart Theory

J. Gardon
Published 1968 · Chemistry

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The most important assumptions underlying the Smith-Ewart theory are that the locus of chain propagation is the monomer-swollen latex particle, polymeric chains are initiated by radicals entering from the water phase into the particles, chain termination is an instantaneous reaction between two radicals within one particle, and particles are nucleated by radicals absorbed into monomer-swollen soap micelles. Right or wrong, these and other assumptions used by Smith and Ewart are retained in this paper. The newly derived and experimentally verifiable equations contain only such parameters which can be determined by experiments not involving emulsion polymerization. The proportionality constant between the particle number and the appropriate powers of soap and initiator concentrations is defined in terms of these independent parameters. Absolute rate equations are presented for the intervals before and after the completion of particle nucleation. To calculate these rates it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of the experimental particle number. The conversion at which particle nucleation is complete is calculated. The molecular weight is defined in terms of independent parameters. Predictions are made for the particle size distribution. It is shown that the validity of the theory is confined to specifiable intervals of conversion, to a certain range of monomer/water ratio, and to soap concentrations whose upper and lower limits are given.

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