Kinetic Modelling of the Synthesis of Polycarboxylate Ethers Via Partial Esterification of Acrylic Copolymers (E-pub Ahead of Print)
In this work, the synthesis of polycarboxylate ethers (PCE) via acrylic copolymers partial esterification has been experimentally carried out with the aim of obtaining results useful to the development of a reliable kinetic model. Experimental tests were conducted starting from polyethylene glycol monomethyl ether (MPEG) as side chain, and two acrylic backbones of different constitution. The reactions were carried out in a 350 mL-glass batch reactor. Thirteen PCE polymers have been produced, varying the target esterification degree (15–45%), reaction temperature
(150–180°C) and time (60–460 min). MPEG conversion degree results, obtained through gel permeation chromatography, have been fitted with different kinetic models through a devoted software and procedure. The one resulting in a very satisfying fitting was based on a kinetic equation of pseudo 1st-order with respect to the MPEG concentration, and pure 1st-order with respect to the concentration of carboxylic groups. Once the kinetic parameters have been determined, the model has been validated against experimental data obtained under different and additional operating conditions, in terms of esterification degree and operating temperature. The good fitting with the experimental MPEG conversion data under the new operating conditions witnesses the soundness of the proposed approach.
Keywords: polycarboxylate ether; acrylic copolymers; partial esterification; kinetic modelling; model validation; polyacrylic acid degradation
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