Synthesis and characterization of surfmers for latex stabilization in RAFT-mediated miniemulsion polymerization

Matahwa, Howard (2005-12)

Thesis (MSc (Chemistry and Polymer Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

Synthesis of two surfmers (cationic and anionic) was carried out and the surfmers were used to stabilize particles in miniemulsion polymerization. Surfmers were used to eliminate adverse effects associated with free surfactant in the final product e.g. films and coatings. The Reversible Addition Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerization process was used in miniemulsion polymerization reactions to control the molecular weight distribution. RAFT offers a number of advantages that include its compatibility with a wide range of monomers and solvents. Moreover block copolymer synthesis is possible via chain extension. A comparative study between classical surfactants and surfmers was conducted in regard to reaction rates and molar mass distribution. The rates of reactions of surfmer stabilized RAFT miniemulsion polymerization of Styrene and MMA were similar (in most cases) to classical surfactant stabilized RAFT miniemulsion polymerization reactions. The final particle sizes were also similar for polystyrene latexes stabilized by surfmers and classical surfactants. However PMMA latexes stabilized by surfmers had larger particle sizes compared to latexes stabilized by classical surfactants. The surfmers were also oligomerized in homogeneous media using the RAFT process and their Mn values were estimated using UV-VIS spectroscopy. The oligosurfmers were then used as emulsifiers in RAFT miniemulsion polymerization. The rates of reaction were slower than rates obtain when the surfmers (monomer or oligosurfmers) were used directly as emulsifiers in RAFT miniemulsion polymerization of styrene and MMA. The final latex particle sizes obtained with oligosurfmers were also larger than that of latex stabilized by their parent monomers. The RAFT process was successfully applied in miniemulsion polymerization in both classical surfactant and surfmer stabilized miniemulsions. The molecular weight increased with conversion showing that the molecular weights of the polymers were controlled.

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