RAFT microemulsion polymerization with surface-active chain transfer agent

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El-Hedok, Ibrahim
Major Professor
Jennifer M. Heinen
Charles E. Glatz
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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The work described in this dissertation focuses on enhancing the polymer nanoparticle synthesis using RAFT (reversible-addition fragmentation chain transfer) in microemulsion polymerization in order to achieve predetermined molecular weight with narrow molecular weight polydispersity.

The hypothesis is that the use of an amphiphilic chain transfer agent (surface-active CTA) will confine the CTA to the surface of the particle and thermodynamically favor partitioning of the CTA between micelles and particles throughout the polymerization. Thus, the CTA diffusion from micelles to polymer particles would be minimized and the breadth of the CTA per particle distribution would remain low.

We report the successful improved synthesis of poly(butyl acrylate), poly(ethyl acrylate), and poly(styrene) nanoparticles using the RAFT microemulsion polymerization with surface-active CTA. The polymerization kinetics, polymer characteristics and latex size experimental data are presented. The data analysis indicates that the CTA remains partitioned between the micelles and particles by the end of the polymerization, as expected.

We also report the synthesis of well-defined core/shell poly(styrene)/poly(butyl acrylate) nanoparticle, having polydispersity index value of 1.1, using semi-continuous microemulsion polymerization with the surface-active CTA. The surface-active CTA restricts the polymerization growth to the surface of the particle, which facilitates the formation of a shell block co-polymers with each subsequent second monomer addition instead of discrete homopolymers. This synthesis method can be used to create a wide range of core/shell polymer nanoparticles with well-defined morphology, given the right feeding conditions.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013