Technology Profile: Production of Polyacrylonitrile Fibers
By Intratec Solutions |
This column is based on “Polyacrylonitrile Production – Cost Analysis,” a report published by Intratec. It can be found at: www.intratec.us/analysis/polyacrylonitrile-production-cost.
Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is a polymer resin mainly composed of acrylonitrile. This important acrylic resin is used in the production of a wide range of products, from ultra-filtration membranes to high-quality carbon fibers.
The process discussed here comprises two main phases: first, acrylonitrile is polymerized with methyl acrylate comonomer and additives in an aqueous solution of demineralized water; then the copolymer is passed through transformation steps to become a fiber. Figure 1 presents a simplified flow diagram.
Figure 1. The diagram shows a production process for polyacrylonitrile (PAN)[/caption]
Polymerization. Initially, a mixture of acrylonitrile, methyl acrylate and itaconic acid is fed continuously to a continuous stirred-tank reactor (CSTR) where the polymerization takes place. The reaction is initiated by feeding aqueous solutions of potassium persulfate (oxidizer), sulfur dioxide (reducing agent), ferrous iron (promoter), and sodium bicarbonate (buffering agent). The heat of polymerization is removed by water…