The effect of phase change materials on the frontal polymerization of a triacrylate

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The production of smoke and fumes is a major obstacle to the practical use of thermal frontal polymerization. The front temperature and the amount of smoking can be reduced by adding inert fillers, such as clay and silica, to the reactive mixture. Here we investigate the possibility of incorporating inert materials that melt (so-called phase change materials) to the mixture. By performing both experiments and mathematical modeling, we demonstrate that, in addition to the standard parameters of frontal polymerization, the front temperature and velocity depend on the melting point and heat of fusion of the phase change material. We use the method of matched asymptotic expansions to develop an explicit expression for the velocity of the reaction front. The expression demonstrates that the behavior of the front is determined by the difference between the reaction temperature and the melting temperature, with the front being slower and cooler if melting occurs farther ahead of the reaction front. The theoretical trends are hard to confirm directly because different characteristics of the phase change material cannot be varied separately. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena

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