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A review of microwave-assisted polymer chemistry (MAPC).

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, MI, USA.


As a relatively new source of processing energy, microwave energy offers many compelling advantages in materials processing over conventional heat sources. These advantages include greater flexibility, greater speed and energy savings, improved product quality and properties, and synthesis of new materials that cannot be produced by other heating methods. Studies of microwave processing of polymeric materials in the early 1960s led to a successful industrial application in the rubber industry. Since the mid-1980's, there has been a great deal of interest in microwave processing of polymeric materials worldwide. The discipline can be categorized in two major fields: microwave-assisted polymer physics (MAPP) and microwave assisted polymer chemistry (MAPC). This paper offers an overview of the state-of-the-art research on the field of MAPC, including polymer processing (curing of thermosets, processing of thermoplastics, and joining), polymer synthesis, plasma modification of polymer surfaces, plasma polymerization, polymer degradation, and production of nanomaterials. Most of these studies have focused on laboratory-scale, exploratory efforts. Challenges and possible future directions for the commercialization of microwave processing technologies are discussed.

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