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Phase behavior and phase separation kinetics in polymer solutions under high pressure [electronic resource] /

by Zhang, Wei

Abstract (Summary)
The phase behavior and phase separation kinetics in polymer solutions in binary mixtures of supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) and organic solvents were studied for two systems. Solutions of polyethylene (PE) in CO2 + n-pentane were selected as one model system to study both the solid-fluid (S-F) and liquid-liquid (L-L) phase transitions as well as the interplay of these two types of phase separations on the final morphological and thermal properties of PE crystals. Solutions of polysulfone (PSF) in CO2 + tetrahydrofuran (THF) were selected as another model system because of the technological importance of this membrane forming polymer and because of the broad interest in developing new solvent/non-solvent systems for forming microporous materials. These phase boundaries were determined using a high-pressure view-cell and optical techniques over a temperature range of 90-165 oC and pressures up to 55 MPa for PE/n-pentane/CO2 system, and over a temperature range of 25 to 155 oC and pressures up to 70 MPa for PSF/THF/CO2 system. For PE solutions, it has been found that the addition of CO2 to the PE/n-pentane system shifts the L-L phase boundary to significantly higher pressures, but moves the S-F phase boundary only slightly to higher temperatures. The S-F phase boundary which represents the crystallization/melting process in the polymer solution was about 10 oC lower than the crystallization/melting temperatures of the neat polyethylene samples determined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). It was further found that the S-F phase boundary in n-pentane displays a unique sensitivity to the pressure-temperature conditions and moves to lower temperatures in the pressure range from 38 to 42 MPa. This effect even though not as augmented remains also for the S-F boundary in the solutions in CO2 + n-pentane mixtures. The miscibility of PSF in THF + CO2 was investigated at CO2 levels up to 14 wt %.
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Advisor:

School:Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

School Location:USA - Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:phase behavior high pressure polymer solution separation kinetics crystallization light scattering supercritical fluids

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