This model addresses the stages of the radical polymerization process. A typical example of polymerization constitutes a monomer (such as ethylene) being pressurized up to 1000 atm, and heated in the presence of a small quantity of organic peroxide. |
This simulation illustrates how in the first stage (initiation stage), a molecule of peroxide (R-O-O-R, where R is an organic group) dissociates into two radicals. This occurs as a result of dissociation of the bond between two oxygen atoms. During the next stage, the polymer chain grows, as a radical attaches to a monomer molecule (in the case of ethylene, H should be substituted for O). This combination of a radical and a monomer forms a new radical. The new radical again attaches to another monomer. The process repeats again and again and the polymer chain continues to grow. The chain growth halts when another radical, different in structure from a monomer, attaches to the free end of the chain.