All shook up!

By September 22nd, 2018

In August the RAMP centre did a bit of work to determine whether a particular type of polymerization could be successfully made by emulsion polymerization. We undertook this work in the Chemspeed SwingXL platform fitted with an 8mL Isynth reactor block, and lots of agitation. We found a particular pattern of agitation that kept the mixture from phase separating during the length of the reaction.

48 reactors containing various emulsions

48 individual emulsions (some more successful than others) performed in 48x8mL ISYNTH reactors. The lid has been removed for this photo.

Why are we interested in making polymers this way? Well, emulsion polymerizations are already used in a variety of industrial scale processes, but most involve the use of many extra additives (like surfactants) to keep things stable and well dispersed. For some applications that’s OK, as the additives can remain in the final product. But for applications where all those extra materials need to be removed, things can get complicated (and expensive) rather quickly. The CSIRO is currently exploring some tricks to achieve the emulsion polymerization with fewer (or no) extra additives

Now we’re just waiting on the analysis.