DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202312607 ISSN: 1616-301X

A Comprehensive, Multidimensional First‐Principles Model for Free‐Radical Photopolymerizations in Bulk and Thin Films

Adam L. Dobson, Christopher N. Bowman
  • Electrochemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


Decades of advances in understanding and simulating the polymerization kinetics and structural evolution that arises in free‐radical photopolymerizations of multifunctional monomers are combined into a single, first‐principles 3D model. The model explicitly accounts for polymerization features including diffusion‐controlled kinetics, oxygen inhibition, light attenuation, chain‐length dependent termination, reaction‐diffusion termination, heat transfer, composition and conversion‐dependent material properties, crosslinking effects, and species diffusion. Using the homopolymerization of 1,6‐hexanediol diacrylate as a model system, a minimum of two kinetics experiments performed at different initiation rates are required to fit model parameters. The model accurately predicts known relationships regarding oxygen inhibition, light intensity, and curing temperature for samples of different geometries and boundary conditions. The emphasis of the results herein is placed on the interactions between polymerization features, motivating the importance of a model that accommodates these features all in one simulation. The model is shown to be robust in its handling of thermal boundary conditions, alternative polymerization techniques or mechanisms, and characteristics of 3D voxel formation. The model in this work provides a useful tool for property prediction in a wide variety of applications, most notably coatings, dental materials, industrial photocuring processes, additive manufacturing, and holography, where complex interactions of the various features of polymerization play a substantial role.

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