Preparation of macroporous methacrylate monolithic material with convective flow properties for bioseparation: Investigating the kinetics of pore formation and hydrodynamic performance
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The preparation of macroporous methacrylate monolithic material with controlled pore structures can be carried out in an unstirred mould through careful and precise control of the polymerisation kinetics and parameters. Contemporary synthesis conditions of methacrylate monolithic polymers are based on existing polymerisation schemes without an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of pore structure and formation. This leads to poor performance in polymer usage thereby affecting final product recovery and purity, retention time, productivity and process economics. The unique porosity of methacrylate monolithic polymer which propels its usage in many industrial applications can be controlled easily during its preparation. Control of the kinetics of the overall process through changes in reaction time, temperature and overall composition such as cross-linker and initiator contents allow the fine tuning of the macroporous structure and provide an understanding of the mechanism of pore formation within the unstirred mould. The significant effect of temperature of the reaction kinetics serves as an effectual means to control and optimise the pore structure and allows the preparation of polymers with different pore size distributions from the same composition of the polymerisation mixture. Increasing the concentration of the cross-linking monomer affects the composition of the final monoliths and also decreases the average pore size as a result of pre-mature formation of highly cross-linked globules with a reduced propensity to coalesce. The choice and concentration of porogen solvent is also imperative. Different porogens and porogen mixtures present different pore structure output. Example, larger pores are obtained in a poor solvent due to early phase separation. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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