— Authors: Cocke, J. und Maaß, S. —
Macromolecular Reaction Engineering, DOI: 10.1002 (link)
Recent studies have revealed unexpected developments in drop size by only small changes in the geometrical constraints of batch vessels used for suspension polymerization. The effect of the dispersed phase fraction, surfactant concentration, as well as baffle length on the evolving drop size distribution in different low viscous liquid–liquid systems is investigated. The analysis is focused on the drop-dominated systems by hindering the coalescence by polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) concentrations up to three times higher than the critical micelle concentration. The influence of PVA on drop size in breakage-dominated systems is well reproduced with population balance equation simulations. The Drops are measured using a photo-optical system with automated image analysis. The measured drop sizes increase with increasing dispersed phase fraction. As coalescence is completely hindered, all observed coalescence effects are connected to phase inversion, a catastrophic phenomenon during suspension polymerization for industrial production processes. Phase inversion can be reproduced for all studied solvents with and without the use of surfactants. In particular, the influence of the baffles can be reproduced. The system is adapted and trained to detect phase inversion as a warning system to make the suspension polymerization process more stable and robust.