Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Polymerization of Single-phase Microemulsions: Dependence of Polymer Morphology on Microemulsion Structure

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Fall 1995


Polymerization of monomer-containing single-phase Winsor-IV microemulsions was studied and the morphology of the polymer obtained was found to be related to the structure of the microemulsion. The hydrophobic component of the microemulsions was formed with methyl methacrylate together with ethylene glycol dimethacrylate. Methacrylic acid was found to be effective as a polymerizable cosurfactant and was used in formulating the microemulsions, together with sodium dodecyl sulfate which was used as the surfactant. The structure of the single-phase microemulsion was found to vary with change in composition of the system. At concentrations of aqueous surfactant solution below 20%, a droplet structure of water in oil (W/O) existed. Inferential evidence indicated the formation of a bicontinuous structure at aqueous surfactant solution concentrations between 20% and 80%. In the case of aqueous surfactant solution concentrations above 80%, a droplet structure of oil in water (O/W) was obtained. On polymerization, the microemulsions having a W/O droplet structure yielded solids with a closed-cell porous structure. Open-cell porous polymeric solids were obtained by the polymerization of microemulsions with a bicontinuous structure. Stable polymer latices could be formed by polymerization of microemulsions with an O/W droplet structure.

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