The effect of reactor geometry on frontal polymerization spin modes

John A. Pojman*, Jonathan Masere, Enrico Petretto, Mauro Rustici, Do Sung Huh, Min Suk Kim, Vladimir Volpert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Using reactors of different sizes and geometries the dynamics of the frontal polymerization of 1,6-hexanediol diacrylate (HDDA) and pentaerythritol tetraacrylate (PETAC), with ammonium persulfate as the initiator were studied. For this system, the frontal polymerization exhibits complex behavior that depends on the ratio of the monomers. For a particular range of monomers concentration, the polymerization front becomes nonplanar, and spin modes appear. By varying the reactor diameter, we experimentally confirmed the expected shift of the system to a greater number of "hot spots" for larger diameters. For square test tubes a "zig-zag" mode was observed for the first time in frontal polymerization. We confirmed the viscosity-dependence of the spin mode instabilities. We also observed novel modes in cylinder-inside-cylinder reactors. Lastly, using a conical reactor with a continuously varying diameter, we observed what may be evidence for bistability depending on the direction of propagation. We discuss these finding in terms of the standard linear stability analysis for propagating fronts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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