Free-Radical Emulsion Polymerization

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The goal is to for you, the enthusiastic lab student, to synthesize a polymer by free-radical emulsion polymerization.


  1. Obtain a 10 or 20 mL Erlenmeyer flask
  2. Place the following into the flask:
    • 4 mL of deionized water
    • potassium persulfate free-radical initiator
    • sodium lauryl sulfate surfactant
    • 2 mL of monomer
  3. Purge with nitrogen gas for about 1 minute
  4. Shake flask vigorously to form emulsion
  5. Place in an 80oC oil bath for one hour, shaking periodically
  6. Add DI water and NaCl to the flask to break emulsion
  7. Remove polymer from flask and wash repeatedly with DI water
  8. Dry polymer in oven

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