Mathematical modeling of frontal polymerization
© EDP Sciences, 2019 Frontal polymerization is way to convert liquid resin into a solid material with a self-propagating reaction. The reaction spreads like a flame from the heat of the reaction that diffuses into neighboring regions, starting more reaction. The frontal velocity has been accurately modeled for free-radical polymerization systems. The dynamics of fronts have been studied theoretically and experimentally. If the viscosity of the initial medium is low, then fronts can become unstable due to buoyancy-driven convection. A fascinating aspect of frontal polymerization is that fronts often do not propagate as a plane waves but exhibit complex modes such as “spin modes” and chaos. The kinetics of the polymerization significantly affects the onset of these modes. Multifunctional acrylates exhibit more complex dynamics than monoacrylates. Using multifunctional acrylates and inorganic fillers, 3P LLC created “cure-on demand” systems that do not require mixing before use, have a long shelf life and can be hardened in seconds to minutes. We consider two commercial products using frontal polymerization. The first is a wood filler that can be applied to a damaged section of wood and hardened in a few seconds by the application of heat to the surface. The second product is QuickCure Clay (QCC). QCC has an unlimited working time during which it can be sculpted. QCC is then cured by heating part of the object to 100 ◦C, setting off the propagating curing front. The modeling of frontal polymerization helped guide the development of these products.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena
Pojman, J. (2019). Mathematical modeling of frontal polymerization. Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena, 14 (6) https://doi.org/10.1051/mmnp/2019059