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Cavitation and radicals drive the sonochemical synthesis of functional polymer spheres


Narayanan, Badri; Deshmukh, Sanket; Shreshta, Lok Kumar; Ariga, Katsuhiko; Pol, Vilas; Sankaranarayanan, Subramanian


Sonochemical synthesis can lead to a dramatic increase in the kinetics of formation of polymer spheres (templates for carbon spheres) compared to the modified St€ober silica method applied to produce analogous polymer spheres. Reactive molecular dynamics simulations of the sonochemical process indicate a significantly enhanced rate of polymer sphere formation starting from resorcinol and formaldehyde precursors. The associated chemical reaction kinetics enhancement due to sonication is postulated to arise from the localized lowering of atomic densities, localized heating, and generation of radicals due to cavitation collapse in aqueous systems. This dramatic increase in reaction rates translates into enhanced nucleation and growth of the polymer spheres. The results are of broad significance to understanding mechanisms of sonication induced synthesis as well as technologies utilizing polymers spheres.



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