The superior capabilities of structured microreactors over batch reactors are demonstrated for reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) solution polymerization of n-butyl acrylate with the aid of simulations, explicitly accounting for the chain length distribution of all macrospecies types. Since perfect isothermicity can be established in a microreactor, less side products due to backbiting and β-scission are formed compared to the batch operation in which ineffective heat removal leads to an undesirable temperature spike. For a given RAFT chain transfer agent (CTA), additional microstructural control results under microflow conditions by optimizing the reaction temperature, lowering the dilution degree, or decreasing the initial molar ratio of monomer to RAFT CTA.
- polymer kinetics
- reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer, RAFT