||January 1, 2006
The advent of controlled radical polymerizations (CRP) has provided a potential means by which polymers of well-defined architecture can be synthesized using more forgiving and robust free-radical chemistry. Because of its versatility, we have chosen to use RAFT chemistry for CRP. Most work in CRP has been in solution polymerization; however, the adaptation of this chemistry to latex (emulsion and miniemulsion) systems has been reported. To date, the overwhelming majority of published research of CRP in miniemulsion has been directed at batch systems. Even so, continuous systems offer possibilities for polymer structure control that cannot be realized in batch systems. By combining stirred and tubular reactors in a train, one can in principle dictate the structure of the final copolymer, allowing for the use of process design to carry out molecular design or “product by process.” In this paper, we will discuss the use of batch, semibatch and continuous (stirred tank and tubular) reactors to create unique molecular and supramolecular architectures from conventional monomers using miniemulsion polymerization.