A comprehensive kinetic mode for high temperature free radical production of styrene/methacrylate/acrylate resins
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Acrylic resins, synthesized from a mixture of monomers selected from the methacrylate, acrylate and styrene families, are the base polymer components for many automotive coatings due to their excellent chemical and mechanical properties. The low molecular weight polymers with reactive functionalities are made via high-temperature starved-feed free-radical solution semibatch terpolymerization, operating conditions that greatly promote the importance of secondary reactions, such as methacrylate depropagation, and acrylate backbiting, chain scission and macromonomer propagation. In this work, a generalized model for styrene/methacrylate/acrylate terpolymerization has been developed and formulated in the PREDICI software package and poorly understood high temperature mechanisms have been studied. Unknown rate coefficients for methacrylate depropagation, reactivity of acrylate macromonomer and penultimate copolymerization kinetics were determined via separate kinetic experiments. The generality of the terpolymerization mechanistic model was verified against data obtained under a range of polymerization conditions, and provides an exclusive insight into the kinetic complexity of methacrylate/styrene/acrylate terpolymerization at high temperatures.