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Free Radical Polymerization of Acrylic Acid at High Monomer Concentration in a Continuous Flow Reactor

Sugandhika, Fnu (2023) Free Radical Polymerization of Acrylic Acid at High Monomer Concentration in a Continuous Flow Reactor. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Most of the world's polyacrylic acid (PAA) is produced by batch or semi-batch processes. In the case of free-radical polymerization (FRP), continuous processes may offer advantages concerning safety, productivity, product quality, and cost. Designing a continuous process for a polymer with a high total polymer concentration imposes challenges like its likelihood of polymer deposition on the walls of the reactor, and runaway reactions, which were addressed in this work. In addition, a continuous lab-scale process using a tubular reactor was evaluated for the polymerization of acrylic acid in an aqueous solution to transition from the batch to continuous flow production of high monomer content or total solid (TS) polyacrylic acid with the aim of meeting product specifications 300,000 g/mol molecular weight, a polydispersity of 10 or below, and PAA concentration of 25% with ≥99% conversion. The feasibility of producing waterborne polyacrylic acid with ammonium persulfate via a lab-scale continuous-flow tubular reactor was investigated experimentally. Initially, the FlowSyn microreactor (Uniqsis Ltd., United Kingdom) was used for experimentation but was replaced by a two-monomer feed tubular configuration. These lab-scale data provided experimental and theoretical bases for process scale-up to the pilot-scale plant. The thesis also includes a literature review discussing various approaches to establish a way to safely switch from the discontinuous to the continuous flow process for the production of polyacrylic acid.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sugandhika, Fnusugandhika08@gmail.comfns13
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorVelankar,
Committee MemberFullerton,
Committee MemberLi,
Date: 13 June 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 December 2022
Approval Date: 13 June 2023
Submission Date: 4 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 56
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Chemical Engineering
Degree: MSChE - Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: polymer synthesis continuous flow processes process engineer polyacrylic acid free radical polymerization
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2023 14:09
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 14:09


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