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Solution polymerization is used to create polymers and copolymers by dissolving

amonomer and a catalyst in a non-reactive solvent. During this process, the solvent liquid
absorbs the heat generated by the chemical reaction which controls the reaction rate. The
liquid solvent used in the solution polymerization procedure usually remains a solvent for
the resulting polymer or copolymer. This process is only suitable for the creation of wet
polymer types, as the removal of excess solvent is difficult. While removal of excess
solvent is possible using distillation, it is usually not considered economically possible in
an industrial situation.
The process of solution polymerization offers a few advantages as well as one major
disadvantage. The advantages include precise control of the chemical reaction, control of
the resulting heat and viscosity, and control over auto acceleration of the process. The
disadvantage of the process is the difficulty involved in the removal of excess solvent from
the finished polymer.
The solvents used in the solution polymerization procedure must be chosen carefully. A
solvent that is non-reactive to the monomer is essential to the process. If a reactive solvent
is used, dangerous chain reaction processes or other undesirable effects can occur as a
result of auto acceleration. Auto acceleration is a reaction that occurs when the heat
produced by polymerization does not dissipated quickly enough by the solvent. As the heat
builds up, the viscosity of the solution increases, causing the polymerization process to
accelerate beyond safe control.
Industrial solution polymerization processes are commonly used to produce polymers with
special characteristics. The chemical reaction that takes place between the monomer and
catalyst can lend unique properties to the end product. One example of this type of polymer
is sodium polyacrylate, the exceptionally absorbent polymer used in disposable diapers.
While this process is not generally feasible for dry polymers, it works well for wet polymer
types. The process of industrial solution polymerization is used to create polymers and
copolymers that can be used in their solution form. Examples of this usage include
industrial glues and surface coatings.
Synthetic elastomers can also be produced using the solution polymerization process. This
method produces a more precise polymer than emulsion polymerization methods. By
controlling the addition of refined monomers to the catalyst-solvent solution, the resulting
polymers can be carefully designed for specific properties. These synthetic elastomers are
commonly found in products such as latex gloves, neoprene wetsuits and floor covering
materials.

Advantages
Heat transfer efficiency greatly enhanced resulting in better process control
- Resulting polymer solution may be directly usable

Disadvantages
-

Necessary to select an inert solvent to avoid possible transfer to solvent


Lower yield per rector volume
Reduction of reaction rate and average chain length Not particularly suitable for production of dry or relatively pure polymer due to difficulty of complete solvent removal