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Manipulating Frontal Polymerization and Instabilities with Phase-Changing Microparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 06.07.2021, 21:33 by Yuan Gao, Mason A. Dearborn, Sagar Vyas, Aditya Kumar, Julie Hemmer, Zhao Wang, Qiong Wu, Omar Alshangiti, Jeffrey S. Moore, Aaron P. Esser-Kahn, Philippe H. Geubelle
Recently presented as a rapid and eco-friendly manufacturing method for thermoset polymers and composites, frontal polymerization (FP) experiences thermo-chemical instabilities under certain conditions, leading to visible patterns and spatially dependent material properties. Through numerical analyses and experiments, we demonstrate how the front velocity, temperature, and instability in the frontal polymerization of cyclooctadiene are affected by the presence of poly­(caprolactone) microparticles homogeneously mixed with the resin. The phase transformation associated with the melting of the microparticles absorbs some of the exothermic reaction energy generated by the FP, reduces the amplitude and order of the thermal instabilities, and suppresses the front velocity and temperatures. Experimental measurements validate predictions of the dependence of the front velocity and temperature on the microparticle volume fraction provided by the proposed homogenized reaction–diffusion model.

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