Course Overview  |  Course Schedule  |  Abstracts  |  Lecturer Bios

Lecture 1 – Kinetics of Free Radical-Initiated Polymerization
F. Joseph Schork
A review of the principles of free radical-initiated polymerization, including the four basic reactions of initiation, propagation, termination and transfer, inhibition, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution, effect of temperature and pressure, autoacceleration and diffusion control of termination and propagation, and copolymerization including copolymerization reactivity ratios and copolymer sequence distribution.

Lecture 2 – Emulsion Polymerization Mechanisms and Kinetics
Gary W. Poehlein
Reaction mechanisms and kinetics of free radical polymerization will be reviewed. The unique features of emulsion polymerization will be outlined and the influence of the colloidal size of the reaction sites discussed. Kinetic theories due to Smith & Ewart, Stockmayer, O’Toole, Roe, Fitch, Ugelstad, and Gilbert will be discussed.

Lecture 3 – The Versatility and Application of Waterborne Acrylics for Industrial Coatings
Terri Carson
Waterborne acrylic polymers are one of the dominant resin technologies used in industrial coatings. They offer excellent UV resistance, hydrolytic stability, good durability and multiple options for polymer design to meet various applications. While there has been increasing new developments of water-based acrylics, the demand for new products continues to thrive as coatings formulators strive to meet the increasing regulations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and higher performance, while maintaining a level of cost efficiency. A general review of waterborne acrylics will be presented including polymer design options, formulation latitude, compatibility with other waterborne technologies and the performance profile for various markets. Low surfactant acrylic technology will also be reviewed and their application to various substrates including wood, concrete, and metal will be presented.                                                  

Lecture 4 – The Role of Surfactants in Emulsion Polymerization Processes
Mohamed S. El-Aasser
Surfactants play major roles in emulsion polymerization during the particle nucleation and growth stages, with direct impact on latex particle size, size distribution, polymerization rate, molecular weight, and particle morphology. Surfactants are also essential during post-polymerization processes: stripping, storage, shipping, and formulation for several applications. The general characteristics of surfactants and their adsorption profiles on latex particles will be reviewed. The specific role of surfactants in determining the particle number according to the various nucleation mechanisms will be described. Three alternatives to conventional surfactants, including recent work on reactive surfactants, will be reviewed.

Lecture 5 (a) – Latexes for Industrial Applications
James W. Taylo)
Industrial Uses of Latexes: About 10 million metric tons (~20 billion pounds) of dry latex polymers are being consumed annually in a very large number of industrial applications, including paints and coatings (~26% of the total annual latex consumption), paper and paperboard applications (~24%), adhesives (~23%), carpet backsizing (~10%), etc. This part of the talk will review the major industrial applications and types of latexes, and then the important latex variables affecting the properties of latexes for various applications will be discussed. Furthermore, industrial latexes will be grouped in terms of their Tg ranges for various applications which are in turn grouped in terms of filler levels. Finally, some specific applications will be highlighted and their latex requirements and future needs will be discussed.

Lecture 5(b) – Methods of Reducing Residual Monomers in Latexes Systems
James W. Taylor
Methods of Reducing Residual Monomer: Historically, butadiene-containing copolymer latexes, such as gel-free SBR (styrene butadiene rubber) and crosslinked S/B latexes, have been steam stripped to remove their residual monomers, whereas the residual monomers of non-gel forming polymer latexes, such as acrylic latexes, have been burned out (i.e., cooked down) in their post-polymerization steps by using organic peroxides and reducing agents known as “chaser catalysts” in the industry. However, public demands and government regulations for ever lower amounts of residual monomers and VOC’s contained in latexes and latex-containing coating formulations may require the industry to consider many different approaches to meet the challenges. For example, in some cases where the post-polymerization burnout alone may not be sufficient to meet the demands, the burnout approach must be either combined with or entirely switched to steam stripping or other approaches. This part of talk will discuss the mechanisms for both batch and continuous steam stripping processes, the post-polymerization burnout mechanisms, various initiator systems for the burnout, and other considerations.

Lecture 6 – Stabilization Mechanisms in Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Latexes
Mohamed S. El-Aasser
The basic concepts and terminology of colloid science will be introduced. The principles of electrostatic and steric stabilization mechanisms will then be reviewed. The inverse problem of coagulating and flocculating latexes will also be discussed. Few experimental results will be used to illustrate some of the basic concepts.

Lecture 7 – Branching and Grafting in Emulsion Polymerizations
Peter A. Lovell
Branching in polymers produced by free-radical polymerization arises from chain transfer to polymer and has important effects on polymer properties. In emulsion polymerization, intermolecular chain transfer to polymer can lead to grafting of water-soluble polymers to latex particles, facilitating control of colloidal stability and latex rheology. Such branching and grafting is used to good effect in the emulsion polymer industry to control the end-use performance of latexes and emulsion polymers. This lecture will begin with an overview of the chemistry of branching and grafting. Case studies of branching in acrylate and vinyl acetate homopolymerizations and synergistic effects in copolymerization will then be presented, together with strategies for controlling the level of branching. This will provide the basis for considering grafting of water-soluble polymers used as colloid stabilizers in emulsion polymerizations. The chemical processes which the most commonly-used water-soluble polymers may undergo during emulsion polymerization will be illustrated through case studies that highlight the key principles for their control. 

Lecture 8 – Semi-Continuous Emulsion Polymerization and Structured Latexes
Michael F. Cunningham
Semi-continuous (or semi-batch) polymerizations in which the monomer is added incrementally during the course of reaction are commonly used in industrial processes because they allow control of the polymerization rate, and because they can be used to control the particle morphology. “Structured latexes” are emulsion polymer particles in which the internal morphology and/or composition vary through the particle. Examples include core-shell particles, and particles with radial composition gradients between the particle core and surface. The discussion will describe how semi-continuous processes are run, the unique features of operating an emulsion polymerization in semi-continuous mode, and how structured latexes can be synthesized.     

Lecture 9 – Sensors and Controls for Emulsion Polymerization Reactors
F. Joseph Schork
Recent developments in the area of on-line sensors, coupled with the availability of high-performance digital control systems, have opened up new opportunities for the efficient operation and control of latex reactors. Available sensors for on-line analysis will be discussed. The use of such measurements in the application of advanced control techniques to batch and continuous polymerization reactors will be reviewed, with special emphasis on controlling the undesirable process dynamics associated with continuous emulsion polymerization, and optimizing controllers for batch polymerization.

Lecture 10 – Film Formation
Peter A. Lovell
Understanding film formation is important for all applications where latexes are dried, which includes obvious applications such as water-borne paints, inks and adhesives, but also those which are less obvious, such as binding of non-woven fabrics, sealants and foamed products. This lecture will describe the fundamental principles underlying the process of film formation from latexes, including the key stages and the molecular processes that are necessary for the formation of coherent films. Factors that influence film formation and the quality of the films produced will be described.

Lecture 11 – Mini-emulsion Polymerization and Latex Systems
Mohamed S. El-Aasser
Despite the fact that the first miniemulsion polymerization was carried out at Lehigh University in 1972, the term “miniemulsion” was first coined only in 1981. The number of publications on miniemulsions has been increasing exponentially over the past decade, including a few patents. Miniemulsions are relatively stable oil-in-water emulsions with average droplet diameters ranging from 50 to 500 nm. These are typically prepared using a mixture of a surfactant and a low molecular weight, highly water-insoluble costabilizer (sometimes referred to as cosurfactant). In miniemulsion polymerization, the submicron monomer droplets are the main sites for particle nucleation and growth via free radical initiation using oil-soluble or water-soluble initiators. The stability behavior of miniemulsions has been explained theoretically based on the well know concepts of Ostwald ripening and thermodynamics. Miniemulsions have been exploited in making new types of polymer colloids (latexes) that were difficult and sometimes impossible to make using conventional emulsification or emulsion polymerization processes. These include preparation of artificial latexes and hybrid latexes, high solids latexes, polymerization of highly water-insoluble monomers and macromonomers, controlled polymer microstructure and morphology, encapsulation of pigments and dyes, and controlled molecular weight via living free radical polymerization. In this lecture both the theory and practice of miniemulsions will be discussed.

Lecture 12 – Experimental Methods for the Characterization of Latex Particle Size and Particle Size Distribution
Cesar A. Silebi
The application of fractionation and non-fractionation methods for the determination of particle size distribution, the range of applicability, and advantages and disadvantages and their on-line measurement capability will be discussed. Among the methods examined are: classical and dynamic light scattering, sedimentation, disc centrifugation, electrozone sensing, sedimentation field flow fractionation, capillary hydrodynamic fractionation, and recent advances in hybrid methods of analysis. Comparisons of several of these methods will be used to illustrate problems often encountered in the particle size distribution determination of latexes.

Lecture 13 – Living Radical Polymerization and Advances in Future directions for Emulsion Polymers/Polymer Colloids
Michael F. Cunningham
While significant advances have occurred in emulsion polymerization in recent decades, in both our fundamental understanding and in practice, the basic chemistry of the process has seen little change until recently. Significant for the development of future commercial products are advances being made in polymer chemistry and catalysis that allow synthesis of polymer colloids with control of the polymer microstructure, polymer colloids made using monomers not previously polymerizable in water-based systems, and in the development of polymer colloids from renewable resources including natural polymers. As this chemistry matures, new classes of polymer colloids will emerge, possibly ushering in entirely new fields of application and considerable opportunities for product innovation. For example, “living” (or “controlled”) radical polymerizations (LRP/ CRP) provide a novel and potentially inexpensive route to designing polymers with controlled microstucture (e.g. block copolymers) and narrow molecular weight distributions. Earlier studies focused on homogeneous bulk and solution living radical polymerizations, but our ability to conduct LRP in aqueous dispersed phase systems has now progressed to a point where commercial applications are feasible. This presentation introduces the three major living radical polymerization chemistries (nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization (NMRP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible-addition-fragmentation-transfer polymerization (RAFT)), and summarizes recent progress of these systems in bulk and emulsion-based systems. The emphasis will be on those aspects of operating in a heterogeneous environment that influence the polymerization rate, the molecular weight distribution and the livingness of the system. The presentation will also highlight recent advances in the use of other non-radical chemistries to make polymer colloids, and in progress to make “green” polymer colloids from renewable feedstocks and natural polymers.

Lecture 14 (a) – A Mechanistic Study of Water Evaporation from Wet Acrylic Latex Films
James W. Taylor
This talk discusses factors that control the evaporation rate of water from acrylic latexes during the film formation process. For stage 1 of the film formation process a mechanistic model is developed that shows that the instantaneous drying rate of either latex decreases linearly as the fractional-surface area of water decreases during the drying process. This mechanistic model postulates acrylic particles at the liquid-air interface that inhibit the evaporation of water. At 42 to 45% solids the initial instantaneous drying rate for the two latexes is ~26% less than that of pure water. At 75% solids a change in slope of the instantaneous drying rate as a function of time identifies stage 2 of the drying process.The commercialization of latexes in 1946 created a need for understanding film formation from discrete polymeric particles. Aided by technological advances and pushed by environmental considerations, there has since been a steady shift from solvent-borne to water-borne polymers. Early film formation theories focused on solvent-free waterborne latexes. However, significant levels of filming aids or solvents are used to optimize the performance of industrial and maintenance coatings. Better understanding of the role filming aids play in the film formation process will aid in the selection of the most efficient filming aid combination for optimizing coating performance.

Lecture 14 (b) – Glass Transition Evolution of Plasticized Latex Films: An Important Process in the Application of Everyday Latex Paints
James W. Taylor
This lecture focuses on important parameters such as the glass transition temperature of filming aids and polymers, the volatility of filming aids in the presence of water and polymeric particles, the distribution coefficients of filming aids, and the Fox-Flory equation are used to predict the MFT of latex particles at deformation. A new experimental method that obtains the activity coefficients of filming aids during the drying process of latex films is demonstrated. These activity coefficients are used to predict the total solvent loss during the wet evaporation stage of the film formation process. Additionally, the clear film composition is modeled for the ensuing “volatility-controlled” stage that defines the time line where solvent evaporation is not diffusion controlled. The ability of the model to predict or follow the Tg of a “drying system” is demonstrated. The model presented can assist in the selection of filming aids for water-borne latex-based formulations and can provide important criteria for optimizing particle composition and morphology.

Lecture 15 – Evolution of Functional Polymer Colloids
John Klier
Polymer colloids, including emulsion polymers, microparticles and nanoparticles represent an important category of specialty materials that enable environmentally friendly specialty and smart coatings, vehicles for active ingredient delivery, media for diagnostic and catalytic applications and precursors for novel highly ordered materials. We will describe the evolution of emulsion polymers from simple binders for coating and adhesive applications to highly tailored functional particles capable of imparting key performance attributes to water-based coating systems – helping facilitate the transition to environmentally benign water based coating systems. Beyond more traditional applications of waterbased coatings and adhesives, polymer colloids are increasingly used in bioassay, sensor, diagnostic and controlled delivery applications and we will describe their structure, function and use in these emerging areas.

Lecture 16 – Fundamentals and Advancement of Waterborne Epoxy and Polyurethanes
Bedri Erdem
This talk will be given in two parts. Part I. Epoxy resins were first commercialized more than 60 years ago. Two component (2K) solventborne (SB) epoxy coatings based on epoxy/polyamide chemistry were developed and heavily used for direct-to-metal coatings and concrete coatings. These 2K SB epoxy coatings deliver excellent adhesion, chemical resistance and corrosion protection, but these coating systems have the negative attribute of high solvent content (VOC). In the last three decades, increasing health and safety awareness and regulatory compliance directives have challenged the coatings industry to develop lower Volatile Organic Component (VOC) coating solutions. In the early 1980’s, waterborne epoxy coatings emerged to primarily fulfill the need for lower paint odor and fast return to service requirements in institutional and maintenance coatings.  Waterborne epoxy systems have been improved over several technology generations to provide additional benefits such as shorter induction time, fast dry time, extended re-coatability while maintaining traditional epoxy coating attributes such as chemical and corrosion resistance, toughness, and adhesion. Further improvements have been underway to make waterborne epoxy coatings even more viable alternatives to solventborne coatings, especially in challenging metal coating applications. Combining the fundamentals of colloidal, interfacial, and material science in the design of epoxy and curing agent chemistries has led to further improvements in waterborne epoxy coatings. For example, novel high performance waterborne zinc rich primers that provide easier dispersibility and stability for zinc powders (up to 80-85 wt%) have been developed to replace solventborne 3K epoxy zinc rich primers. These low VOC waterborne zinc rich coating systems provide easier application, good flexibility, good adhesion, and outstanding corrosion protection. Additionally, an ultra-low VOC WB epoxy coating (<50 g/L) for concrete (floors, walls and interior building structures) have also been developed. A novel polymer composition incorporating a custom designed specialty surfactant within the polymer architecture provides a ZVOC curing agent is capable of emulsifying epoxy resins.  This waterborne epoxy system provides low viscosity, ease of application and improved adhesion in challenging concrete coatings. These advancements in waterborne technologies have also led to development of high performance ZVOC epoxy dispersions and curing agents for low (< 50 g/L) and zero VOC coating formulations. This presentation will focus on the development of advanced waterborne epoxy coating systems and summarize the performance attributes obtained from these coating systems. Part II. Polyurethanes are unique materials with a wide range of physical, chemical and mechanical properties. Aqueous polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) have recently emerged to replace their solvent-based counterparts in various applications due to increasing health and environmental issues.  This paper will provide an overview of the fundamentals for the preparation of solvent-free and high solids content (~60 wt%) aqueous PUDs from aromatic isocyanate/polyether and aliphatic isocyanate/polyester prepolymers using a high shear continuous mechanical dispersion process.  It was shown that the chemical composition of the PU prepolymer (nonionic or anionic) and type and amount of surface active agents(s) play critical role in the formation and stabilization of submicron size colloidally stable particles in this process.  The kinetics of polyurethane and polyurea polymerization PUD formation and process was also investigated.  Understanding of reaction kinetics and fundamentals of colloidal and interfacial science allowed the preparation of solvent-free polyurethane dispersions for a myriad of applications from a well-designed combination of a variety of commercially available raw materials.  Effect of the time and temperature on the film formation and coalescence of soft and hard PUDs, crosslinking of polyurethanes with organofunctional silanes and incorporation of inorganic fillers were also investigated for various applications.

Lecture 17 – Latex Rheology
Cesar A. Silebi
Review of experimental studies illustrating the various factors that influence the rheological properties of latexes. Topics to be covered include the effects of solids concentration, particle size and distribution, electrolyte content, particle aggregation, adsorbed surfactants, non-spherical particle morphology, particle swelling, and the use of water-soluble associative and non-associative polymeric thickeners. Consideration will also be given to thickened latexes and variables affecting their rheological flow curves.

Lecture 18 – Engineering of Emulsion Polymerization Reactors
Gary W. Poehlein
The various types of reactors: batch, semi-batch and continuous, used to produce synthetic latexes, will be reviewed. Pros and cons of various types of processes will be discussed and theoretical reactor models will be presented where appropriate. Reactor design and operating factors that influence product properties will also be reviewed.

Lecture 19 – Multiphase/Multicomponent Latex Particles
Peter A. Lovell
Latex particles that comprise two or more phases/components are important both academically and industrially. They are used in a diverse range of applications, for example: toughening of plastics; adhesives; architectural coatings; inks; controlled-release of actives; and diagnostics. This lecture will build upon the “Semi-Continuous Emulsion Polymerization and Structured Latexes” lecture by describing in greater detail the parameters which control the development of particle morphology when attempting to prepare, and control the morphology of, multi-phase latex particles in which there are two or more polymer phases. The importance of thermodynamic versus kinetic control will be emphasized and strategies for achieving control of morphology will be described together with their limitations. Some examples will be given to illustrate the principles. The focus will then switch to preparation of multi-component latex particles in which there are both polymeric and non-polymeric materials present. Different approaches to preparation of multi-component latex particles will be described through examples of encapsulating non-polymeric materials, templating of particle morphology, and synthesis of surface-functionalized particles.

Lecture 20 – Question & Answer Session with Short Course Lecturers and Participants

Lecture 21 – Waterborne Pressure Sensitive Adhesives
Ying-Yuh Lu
Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are permanently tacky and adhere to substrates without the need of more than finger or hand pressure. Water borne PSAs are widely used in permanent and removable tapes and label stocks. The lecture will cover basics of PSAs and testing, waterborne PSA compositions and sizes on adhesive performance, as well as challenges of emulsion PSAs.

Lecture 22- Factors that Control the Wet-Property Development of Waterborne Inks
James W. Taylor
Waterborne dispersion technology developed for printing inks by Johnson Polymer is important in reducing VOC in the environment. The dispersion technology consists of a water medium composed of ammonia solubilized carboxylic acid-containing acrylic resins and dispersions of acrylic particles. In the industry this technology is referred to as Rheology Controlled Domains (RCDs). This talk will focus on the morphology of films prepared from a RCD and the factors that control property development. One important factor is the decomposition of ammonium carboxylates-containing to its acid and ammonia. This talk will show that the kinetics for this decomposition is diffusion control.

Lecture 23 – Scale-up of emulsion polymerization processes
Michael F. Cunningham
Issues including reaction kinetics, heat transfer and mixing (mass transfer). Emulsion polymerizations often pose a difficult scaleup challenge since by their nature the polymerization kinetics are coupled with both heat and mass transfer. Consequently almost any change to the process during scaleup is likely to impact product properties, whereas the primary goal of scaleup is to reproduce the latex properties obtained in bench scale experiments. Typical challenges encountered in scaleup include inability to obtain the desired latex properties, coagulum formation, and problems controlling the reactor temperature. The principles of scaling up an emulsion polymerization will be introduced, and these specific challenges will be discussed.

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