Polymerization in Dispersed Media

Polymerization in heterogeneous medium offers many advantages, among them easier heat removal, better viscosity control and easier recovery of the polymers formed. Today’s environmental concerns can be better addressed through the use of non-flammable, low cost and environmental-friendly solvents, ideally water. At LCPO, we investigate the formation of nanoparticles from polymerization of monomers in dispersed media, especially in water.

Precipitation polymerization route is explored to elaborate highly functional isometric crosslinked particles. Such particles display exceptional chemical functionality, outstanding mechanical properties and interfacial properties in Pickering emulsions and Langmuir-Blodgett films.

While radical polymerization has widely been carried out in dispersed processes, some high potential polymers (e.g. polybutadiene, polynorbornene, polycyclooctene…) cannot be prepared by this method. At LCPO, we have shown that Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization (ROMP) is a powerful and an innovative method to access novel nanoparticles family.

Nanostructured polymer composite particles were elaborated by a straightforward one-step, one-pot, one-catalyst route, based on the simultaneous combination of ROMP and ATRP in aqueous dispersed media. Currently, we are developing “smart” materials (or nanoparticles) able to response to external or internal stimuli. Various processes, such as macro-, mini-, micro-emulsions, suspension and dispersion are being investigated to design specific polymers for targeted applications.