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Shear-Induced Reactive Gelation

Brand, Bastian, Morbidelli, Massimo, Soos, Miroslav
Langmuir 2015 v.31 no.46 pp. 12727-12735
chromatography, fractal dimensions, gelation, light scattering, mercury, micropores, nitrogen, particle size, polymers, porosity, scanning electron microscopy, sorption, surface area
In this work, we describe a method for the production of porous polymer materials in the form of particles characterized by narrow pore size distribution using the principle of shear-induced reactive gelation. Poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene) primary particles with diameter ranging from 80 to 200 nm are used as building blocks, which are assembled into fractal-like clusters when exposed to high shear rates generated in a microchannel. It was found that independent of the primary particle size, it is possible to modulate the internal structure of formed fractal-like aggregates having fractal dimension ranging from 2.4 to 2.7 by varying the residence time in the microchannel. Thermally induced postpolymerization was used to increase the mechanical resilience of such formed clusters. Primary particle interpenetration was observed by SEM and confirmed by light scattering resulting in an increase of fractal dimension. Nitrogen sorption measurements and mercury porosimetry confirmed formation of a porous material with surface area ranging from 20 to 40 m²/g characterized by porosity of 70% and narrow pore size distribution with an average diameter around 700 nm without the presence of any micropores. The strong perfusive character of the synthesized material was confirmed by the existence of a plateau of the height equivalent to a theoretical plate measured at high reduced velocities using a chromatographic column packed with the synthesized microclusters.