An investigation into the mechanistic behaviour of RAFT-mediated miniemulsion polymerizations.
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Polymerization using the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) process affords a researcher control over the molecular weight and polydispersity of the final polymer. Research is being carried out globally, using heterogeneous RAFT systems, as these systems offer superior industrial possibilities. Many emulsion systems fail when incorporating RAFT agents due to phase separation and colloidal instability. Exchanging conventional emulsion polymerizations with predispersed polymerization systems (i.e. miniemulsions) has shown many improvements. Evidence of uncontrolled aqueous phase polymerization (i.e. not mediated by the RAFT process) has however been found. This behaviour is similar to polymerization in a conventional emulsion polymerization system, but is not expected in miniemulsion polymerization.
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