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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 6 Issue 2 (2001) pp 104-108

Microemulsion Polymerization: An Undergraduate Experiment in the Synthesis of Nanosized Polystyrene Particles

John A. Westbrook, Krista L. Manno, and Yuzhuo Li*

Department of Chemistry, Center for Advanced Material Processing, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699
Received October 9, 2000. Accepted December 1, 2000

Published online: 26 January 2001

Abstract. The synthesis of polystyrene nanoparticles through microemulsion polymerization is presented as an undergraduate advanced organic laboratory exercise. The resultant polymerís molecular weight and particle size are studied as a function of monomer and initiator concentration. A comparison of cationic vs. anionic surfactants, and their effects on the polymer produced through microemulsion polymerization are also investigated. A direct relationship is observed between molecular weight and monomer concentration. A direct relationship is also found for the particle size of the latex produced. An inverse relationship is observed for molecular weight and particle size as the initiator concentration was raised. Comparison of molecular weight and latex size for cationic and anionic surfactants demonstrates that the anionic surfactant produces both a higher molecular weight and a larger latex size over the entire monomer and initiator concentration ranges.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; polymer chemistry; thermal analyses; drugs; pharmaceuticals; hydrogels; polyacrylamide

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: yuzhuoli@clarkson.edu)

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Issue date: April 6, 2001

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