Microdispersive interfacial mixing in fast polymerizations

Steven C. Machuga, Heather L. Midje, John S. Peanasky, Chris Macosko, William E. Ranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Interfacial activity between liquid reaction injection molding (RIM) reactants was observed using light microscopy. Diisocyanates were brought into contact with various diols and diamines in a thin (250 μm) gap. A dynamic phenomenon, rapidly producing a well‐mixed, intermaterial phase, was discovered. It was revealed that the rate of growth of this newly formed region was dependent on both the rate of reaction and the physical properties of the initially formed product species at the reaction interface. Spontaneous interfacial mixing also occurred without chemical reaction when a reaction product was dissolved in “capped” contacting reactant liquids. It is believed that strong interfacial intermolecular forces, inducing flow through the polymerization product layer formed immediately upon reactant contact, are responsible for the initial explosiveness of this microscopic process. The range of eventual thicknesses of the mixed, interfacial region (100–800 μm) for various typical RIM systems indicates that this microscopic subprocess may be significant to the fate of the overall process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1064
Number of pages8
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1988


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