Accelerated Continuous Flow RAFT Polymerization

Homogeneous continuous flow RAFT polymerizations with <i>N</i>-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) as monomer and a trithiocarbonate as chain transfer agent are investigated. Polymerization rates are considerably increased compared to reactions in batch due to more uniform heating of the solution. The fast reaction did not influence the well-defined architecture of the polymer products. PNIPAM with molecular weights of 20 kDa was produced in minutes rather than hours. The continuous polymerization is readily scalable at low operating costs.