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Emulsion Polymerization of Butyl Acrylate: Safe Optimization Using Topological Criteria

Copelli, Sabrina, Torretta, Vincenzo, Lunghi, Angelo, Derudi, Marco, Sala Cattaneo, Carlo, Rota, Renato
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2013 v.52 no.26 pp. 8625-8634
atmospheric pressure, boiling, case studies, emulsions, engineering, foams, free radicals, heat production, polymerization, temperature, topology
Fast and strongly exothermic emulsion polymerization processes are particularly difficult to optimize from both safety and productivity points of view because of the occurrence of a number of undesired side reactions (e.g., propagation of tertiary radicals, chain transfer to monomer, backbiting, termination by disproportionation, etc.) and the triggering of boiling phenomena with consequent stable foam formation under atmospheric pressure. Therefore, it would be useful to develop a suitable combined theoretical and experimental procedure able to detect both the optimum process dosing time and initial reactor temperature. In this work, it is discussed how an extended version of the topological criterion theory, originally developed for isoperibolic semibatch reactors, can be used to safely optimize an indirectly cooled isothermal semibatch reactor. Moreover, such a methodology is applied to a case study represented by the synthesis of poly(butyl acrylate) through the radical emulsion polymerization of butyl acrylate.