What are the advantages and disadvantages of emulsion polymerization as compared to bulk and solution polymerization?

1 Answer
Dec 14, 2016

I'd say more advantages than disadvantages. The most obvious one being that you can avoid dangerous heat build up, and the emulsion is much easier to handle (than bulk).......


Gives potential for rapid polymerisation to yield high molecular weight polymer with low polydispersity.

Viscosity of polymer emulsion is much lower than that of straight polymer in melt phase. Easier to process but also allows production of polymers that are extremely sticky as 100% polymer.

Final product can easily be removed from reactor due to lower viscosity (and can be washed out with water).

Continuous phase (water) acts as a heat sink and allows temperature to be much better controlled, avoiding dangerous overheating.

Polymer can easily become contaminated with traces of the emulsifier. This can lead to poor transparency which can often be an important property.

Unless the finished polymer is to be supplied as an emulsion, the final stage requires coagulation and removal of the aqueous phase. This can generate very large amounts of water - not necessarily a disadvantage but it does have been adequately treated and disposed of.