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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2014, Article ID 703205, 4 pages
Research Article

Polystyrene Microbeads by Dispersion Polymerization: Effect of Solvent on Particle Morphology

Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China

Received 11 November 2013; Revised 21 December 2013; Accepted 21 December 2013; Published 9 January 2014

Academic Editor: Haojun Liang

Copyright © 2014 Lei Jinhua and Zhou Guangyuan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polystyrene microspheres (PS) were synthesized by dispersion polymerization in ethanol/2-Methoxyethanol (EtOH/EGME) blend solvent using styrene (St) as monomer, azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) as initiator, and PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) K-30 as stabilizer. The typical recipe of dispersion polymerization is as follows: St/Solvent/AIBN/PVP = 10 g/88 g/0.1 g/2 g. The morphology of polystyrene microspheres was characterized by the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the molecular weights of PS particles were measured by the Ubbelohde viscometer method. The effect of ethanol content in the blend solvent on the morphology and molecular weight of polystyrene was studied. We found that the size of polystyrene microspheres increased and the molecular weight of polystyrene microspheres decreased with the decreasing of the ethanol content in the blend solvent from 100 wt% to 0 wt%. What is more, the size monodispersity of polystyrene microspheres was quite good when the pure ethanol or pure 2-Methoxyethanol was used; however when the blend ethanol/2-Methoxyethanol solvent was used, the polystyrene microspheres became polydisperse. We further found that the monodispersity of polystyrene microspheres can be significantly improved by adding a small amount of water into the blend solvent; the particles became monodisperse when the content of water in the blend solvent was up to 2 wt%.