Thermodynamic model for associating polymer solutions
Ozkan, Ibrahim Ali
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Polymer solutions in which there are strong specific interactions between the polymer and the solvent are of interest in a number of biological applications. Of particular interest are polymer solutions in which supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) is the solvent, because polymer processing with CO2 is an important application of green chemistry. Unfortunately, experimental data on the phase behavior of polymer - CO2 systems are relatively scarce, as are models that describe the phase behavior of such systems. The focus of this research is therefore on developing a thermodynamic model based on lattice theory for calculating phase behavior of high pressure polymer solutions with specific intermolecular interactions. A new model, termed the LELAC (Lattice-based Extended Liquid Activity Coefficient) model is proposed based on the gART-L model of Sukhadia and Variankaval. The new model incorporates the compressibility effect at high pressures. The parameters of the model are (1) the equilibrium constant for association between a polymer segment and a solvent, (2) the specific interaction energy between a polymer segment and a solvent, and (3) the dispersion interaction energy. The dispersion interaction energy is calculated using Regular Solution Theory and therefore depends on the pure component properties. One or both of the remaining parameters is obtained from independent measurements such as FT- IR spectra. Alternatively, the two parameters can be obtained by fitting data. Cloud point curves of polymer - CO2 systems have been successfully correlated (1.3 % error) with the new model. Also, using fitted parameters from cloud point data, the sorption behavior of CO2 in polymers has been predicted. The polymer investigated include PBMA, PVAc and Polyacrylates. Comparison of cloud points with those obtained using the SAFT model revealed that the new model performs better than the SAFT model (3.6% error) with two adjustable parameters. The use of FT-IR to investigate interactions between CO2 and a number of polymers has been studied. The results confirm that complexes are formed between CO2 and PMMA, PEMA, PBMA, PVMK, and PVAc. A complex of PVC and CO2 is reported and a new mechanism involving a carbon oxygen triple bond is postulated for this system.