Microgel synthesis: Kinetics, particle formation and reactor modelling
This project focuses on the investigation of the kinetic mechanism during microgel formation by precipitation polymerization in aqueous phase by an integrated experimental and model-based approach. A dynamic mathematical model for the chemical synthesis of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) and poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PVCL) microgels is developed following the MEXA methodology. MEXA integrates model construction, model identification and optimal model-based experimental design (AVT.SVT) with experiments (ITMC) to derive predictive reactor and microgel population models. This dynamic model will serve model-based design of complete production processes and their optimizing control systems in a later phase of the project. This approach is novel since research on microgels has largely been focusing on lab-scale synthesis. PNIPAM and PVCL microgels have been chosen as case studies because their synthesis is established, thus facilitating modeling and experimentation. However, the polymerization kinetics as well as mechanisms of the microgel formation and growth in different reaction systems are not completely understood yet und a combination of experimental and modeling approaches will allow to provide an efficient tool to characterize such phenomena.
Pich, Andrij, Prof. Dr.
Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry (ITMC)
RWTH Aachen University
+49 241 80 23350