Skip to main content

Living radical polymerization in emulsion for direct environmentally friendly preparation of dispersed polymers with compositional and architectural control


The project was successful in proving that xanthates (MADIX agents) are efficient controlling agents for emulsion polymerization for styrene and acrylate monomers. In parallel to that, a detailed kinetic study of the MADIX process was carried out in solution polymerization. The obtained kinetic parameters were taken into account to optimize the works in dispersed media. Block copolymers of styrene and acrylate monomers were synthesized in emulsion and the structure-property relationships of the latex films were examined. Molecular and process parameters were varied and their effect on the viscoelastic properties and surface properties of the films was quantified. This helped to extract the basic requirements for designing good candidates for PSA applications.
Objectives and content
The increasing need for products with better performance
and durability requires the use of speciality polymers
with controlled composition and architecture. However,
no industrial cost-effective process is presently
available to synthesise such polymers. Moreover, current
processes are performed in solvent media and need
recycling of solvents and thorough removal of organic
residuals from the polymers. Finally, these processes
are incompatible with water, while the demand for
waterborne systems is growing fast due to environmental
and occupational concerns.
Living Radical Polymerisation (LRP), especially when
applied directly in emulsion will be able to reconcile
these conflicting demands. In LRP all polymer chains
allow stepwise addition of monomer throughout the whole
process by limiting the extent of chain termination. LRP
thereby allows for the sequential radical polymerisation
of monomers (multi-blocks) and construction of welldefined architectures. Being a radical polymerisation
process, LRP does not require highly pure ingredients and
it is expected to allow the controlled polymerisation of
a wide variety of vinyl monomers, including functional
ones, and for it to be performed under aqueous process
conditions. The usefulness of the resultant aqueous
dispersions will be validated in one of many potential
end-use applications, namely pressure-sensitive accesses
The main expected innovations to be achieved within the
project are:
development of efficient process conditions for
controlled radical polymerisation
extension to a wider range of vinyl monomers including
functional ones
transposition of the technique to direct and
environmentally friendly production of waterborne
synthesis of copolymers with controlled composition and
architecture targeted to market requirements within the
field of PSA (better processing, performance, durability
and recycling).
The consortium is co-ordinated by Eindoven University of
Technology from the Netherlands, who has been active from
the start in LRP and its implementation in emulsion and
who is one of the world's leading research institutes in
the field of emulsion polymerisation. The other partners
are Institute Charles Sadron (ICS), a French research
laboratory active in LRP, Rhône-Poulenc Chimie, the major
French latex supplier, YKI, a Swedish applied research
laboratory skilled in fields like PSA, paper coatings and
paints, and Raflatac. A Finnish company and one of the
biggest labelstock manufacturers in Europe, which will be
involved in an important end-use application of the new
polymers, namely PSA.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Eindhoven University of Technology

5600 MB Eindhoven

Participants (4)

Rue Boussingault 6
67083 Strasbourg
52,Rue De La Haie-coq 52
93308 Aubervilliers
Raflatac Oy

33101 Tampere
Drottning Kristinas Vaeg 45
114 86 Stockholm