Controlled RAFT Polymerization in a Continuous Flow Microreactor

    • Christian H. Hornung
    • Carlos Guerrero-Sanchez
    • Malte Brasholz
    • Simon Saubern
    • John Chiefari
    • Graeme Moad
    • Ezio Rizzardo
    • San H. Thang
    • CSIRO Materials Science & Engineering, Victoria, Australia

    Controlled radical polymerization using the reversible addition−fragmentation chain transfer approach (RAFT) was successfully conducted under continuous flow processing conditions, provided that steel tubing was used to prevent quenching of the radical process by oxygen. A series of different monomers, including acrylamides, acrylates, and vinyl acetate, were polymerized to high conversions (between 80 and 100%) at temperatures between 70 and 100 °C using various initiators, solvents, and RAFT agents. Low dispersities, typically between 1.15−1.20, and average molecular weights similar to those of batch RAFT polymerizations were obtained. The methodology provides a facile, alternative scale-up route to conventional batch polymerization, which can be challenging because of the oxygen-sensitive nature of the RAFT process.

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