Rapid frontal polymerization achieved with thermally conductive metal strips

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Frontal polymerization, which involves a self-propagating polymerizing reaction front, has been considered as a rapid, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly methodology to manufacture lightweight, high-performance thermoset polymers, and composites. Previous work has reported that the introduction of thermally conductive elements can enhance the front velocity. As follow-up research, the present work investigates this problem more systemically using both numerical and experimental approaches by investigating the front shape, front width, and heat exchange when aluminum and cooper metal strips are embedded in the resin. The study reveals that the enhancement in the front velocity is mainly due to a preheating effect associated with the conductive element. Moreover, the numerical parametric study for the system size shows that the front speed increases as the system size decreases, ultimately approaching a prediction provided by a homogenized model for polymer-metal composites.

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Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.)

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