Spherically propagating thermal polymerization fronts

B Binici
DI Fortenberry
KC Leard
M Molden


We demonstrate for the first time spherically propagating frontal polymerization that also exhibits spin modes. We have developed an interesting system using the amine-catalyzed Michael addition of a trithiol to a triacrylate to create a rubbery gel. The gel suppresses convection and bubble formation during front propagation. A peroxide is also present to act as a thermal initiator. The front propagates via free-radical polymerization of the remaining triacrylate after being initiated photochemically in the center of the reactor. It is possible to prepare the rubbery gel in any shape and then initiate thermal frontal polymerization. So-called spin modes have been observed for the first time in spherically propagating fronts in which waves of polymerization propagate on the expanding spherical front. A system using a diacrylate dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide with added silica gel and with persulfate as the initiator supports spherical fronts but does not exhibit spin modes. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.