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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (6) : 1087-1099
High-gravity-assisted emulsification for continuous preparation of waterborne polyurethane nanodispersion with high solids content
Weihong Zhang1,2, Dan Wang1(), Jie-Xin Wang1,2, Yuan Pu2(), Jian-Feng Chen1,2
1. State Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic Composites, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
2. Research Centre of the Ministry of Education for High Gravity Engineering and Technology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
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In this work, we developed a continuous preparation strategy for the production of high-solids-content waterborne polyurethane (WPU) emulsions via high-gravity-assisted emulsification in a rotating packed bed (RPB) reactor. By adjusting the experimental parameters and formula, WPU emulsions with a high solids content of 55% and a low viscosity were prepared. Preliminary applications of the high-solids-content WPU as a thermally insulating material were demonstrated. RPB emulsification is an economical and environmentally friendly production strategy because of the low energy consumption, short emulsification time, and effective devolatilization. This study demonstrated an effective method for preparation of high-solids-content WPU, moving toward commercialization and industrialization.

Keywords waterborne polyurethane      rotating packed bed      emulsification      nanodispersion      high solids content     
Corresponding Author(s): Dan Wang,Yuan Pu   
Just Accepted Date: 27 December 2019   Online First Date: 06 March 2020    Issue Date: 11 September 2020
 Cite this article:   
Weihong Zhang,Dan Wang,Jie-Xin Wang, et al. High-gravity-assisted emulsification for continuous preparation of waterborne polyurethane nanodispersion with high solids content[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(6): 1087-1099.
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Weihong Zhang
Dan Wang
Jie-Xin Wang
Yuan Pu
Jian-Feng Chen
Fig.1  Scheme 1 Preparation process of MDI-WPU.
Fig.2  Schematic diagram of experimental setup for WPU emulsification. 1: Nitrogen cylinder; 2: pre-polymerization reactor; 3, 7: valve; 4, 8: pump; 5, 9: flow meter; 6: emulsion storage tank; 10: RPB.
Fig.3  Specific design structure of the RPB reactor.
Fig.4  (a) Sketch of the first step of the mixing process in the RPB; (b) the liquid flow distribution simulated by CFD with respect to the pre-polymer flow rate at 50 and 100 rpm; (c) the Z-average size obtained with various pre-polymer flow rates; (d) sketch of the second step of the mixing process in the RPB; (e) the liquid flow distribution simulated by CFD with respect to the circulating flow rate at 100 and 250 rpm; (f) the Z-average size obtained with various circulating flow rates.
Fig.5  (a) Particle sizes distribution of WPU particles obtained after various numbers of cycles; (b) the Z-average size and PDI of WPU particles obtained after various numbers of cycles; (c) the contrast in PSD between 45 cycles in the RPB and STR reactors.
Fig.6  (a) PSD of WPU particles obtained at various high-gravity levels; (b) the Z-average size and PDI of WPU particles obtained at various high-gravity levels; (c) the comparison of PSDs between STR and RPB with 430g.
Fig.7  (a) TEM image of WPU for 50g; (b) TEM image of WPU for 135g; (c) TEM image of WPU after 15 cycles; (d) TEM image of WPU after 75 cycles.
Fig.8  Schematic diagram of coalescence and breakup in RPB.
Fig.9  (a) Relationship between solids content and viscosity of different WPU emulsions; (b) the schematic diagram of different dispersions of emulsions by RPB and STR; (c) TEM morphology of monodisperse particles by RPB; (d) TEM morphology of WPU flocculation.
Fig.10  (a) Digital photograph of WPU emulsion prepared with different emulsification times; (b) two series of digital photographs for WPU coating films with solids contents of 53% and 30% at different times; (c) the relationship between relative weight and time during drying of the WPU coating films.
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