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Diffusion of residual monomer in polymer resins.

Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Mathematics


A simplified mathematical model which made use of Fick's laws of diffusion written in spherical coordinates was developed to describe the rate of diffusion of residual monomers from polymer resins. The properties of the monomer-polymer system which influenced the amount of monomer remaining in the polymer as a function of time were the diffusivity and solubility of the monomer in the polymer, and the particle size of the polymer resin. This model was used to analyze literature data on the diffusion of residual vinyl chloride monomer in polyvinyl chloride resins made by the suspension process. It was concluded that particle size of the resin was a significant parameter which should be taken advantage of in process equipment designed to remove residual monomer from PVC resins. The diffusivity of the monomer in the polymer was a function of the solubility of the monomer in the polymer. Monomer solubility can be determined from Henry's law. It was suggested that this model could be adapted to describe diffusion of monomers from any monomer-polymer system, and would be a useful approach to modeling the transport of nonreactive chemical additives from plastics.

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