Title page for ETD etd-10262005-082012

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lucas, Bruce
Author's Email Address blucas@vt.edu
URN etd-10262005-082012
Title Fundamental Modeling of Solid-State Polymerization Process Systems for Polyesters and Polyamides
Degree PhD
Department Chemical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Liu, Y. A. Committee Chair
Baird, Donald G. Committee Member
Davis, Richey M. Committee Member
Long, Timothy E. Committee Member
McGrath, James E. Committee Member
  • nylon-6
  • poly(ethylene terephthalate)
  • polymerization kinetics
  • crystallization kinetics
  • simulation
  • model
  • diffusion
  • physical properties
Date of Defense 2005-08-25
Availability unrestricted
The dissertation describes and assembles the building blocks for sound and accurate models for solid-state polymerization process systems of condensation polymers, particularly poly(ethylene terephthalate) and nylon-6. The work centers on an approach for modeling commercial-scale, as opposed to laboratory-scale, systems. The focus is not solely on coupled polymerization and diffusion, but extends to crystallization, physical properties, and phase equilibrium, which all enhance the robustness of the complete model.

There are three applications demonstrating the utility of the model for a variety of real, industrial plant operations. One of the validated simulation models is for commercial production of three different grades of solid-state PET. There are also validated simulation models for the industrial leaching and solid-state polymerization of nylon-6 covering a range of operating conditions. The results of these studies justify our mixing-cell modeling approach as well as the inclusion of all relevant fundamental concepts.

The first several chapters discuss in detail the engineering fundamentals that we must consider for modeling these polymerization process systems. These include physical properties, phase equilibrium, crystallization, diffusion, polymerization, and additional modeling considerations. The last two chapters cover the modeling applications.

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