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Polymer Reaction Engineering Research

Our research interests are in sustainable polymer reaction engineering which includes the synthesis of new polymers using renewable materials and the development of sustainable polymerization processes. More specifically, our expertise lies in:

  • polymer reaction engineering: experimental kinetics, mathematical modelling, reactor design and process optimization for bulk, solution and emulsion single and multicomponent polymer systems in batch, semi-batch and continuous modes;
  • sustainable polymerization techniques;
  • adhesives and coatings from emulsion polymers;
  • testing of new sensor technology;
  • parameter estimation;
  • design of experiments.

Following are but a few of the systems of interest to us:

butyl acrylate butadiene acrylic acid
methyl methacrylate alpha-methyl styrene acrylonitrile
vinyl acetate methyl acrylate methacrylic acid
styrene ethyl acrylate ethyl hexyl acrylate
and many others

We would be happy to discuss the possibility of pursuing polymer reaction engineering research opportunities with you and can be reached at (613) 562-5800 ext. 6107 or via e-mail at

Polymer Reaction Engineering Research Graduates: (in reverse chronological order)

Stéphane Roberge completed his Ph.D. on the bulk and emulsion polymerization of conjugated Linoleic Acid/styrene/butyl acrylate in 2016.

Samaneh Khanlari’s Ph.D. research on poly(sodium acrylate)-based antibacterial nanocomposites was completed in 2015.

Kaimin Deng completed his M.Eng. project on the copolymerization of acrylic monomers with sugar-based monomers in 2015.

Yujie Zhang completed her M.A.Sc. thesis in 2014, studying the copolymerization of limonene.

Esther Trevino completed her post-doctoral research in 2013. She completed several research projects related to the emulsion-based production of pressure-sensitive adhesives.

Timothy Oladeji completed his M.Eng. research project on the copolymerization of acrylic acid and itaconic acid in 2012.

Somaieh Salehpour completed her Ph.D. studies in 2011. She developed new techniques to produce polyglycerol from glycerol monomer and stimuli-responsive hydrogels from these renewable polymers.

Abebe Essayas completed his M.Eng. research project entitled “Green Pathways to Polymer Synthesis: A Review” in 2011.

Lili Qie completed her Ph.D. research in 2011. She focused on cross-linking in emulsion-based pressure sensitive adhesive production.

Gabriela Fonseca completed her Ph.D. thesis in 2010. Her work centered around the use of mini-emulsion polymerization as a tool in pressure-sensitive adhesive production.

Liang Li has completed his M.A.Sc. thesis (2009) with a study on the monitoring of styrene/butadiene emulsion polymerization using in-line ATR-FTIR spectroscopy.

Hong Hua completed his Ph.D. thesis in 2008 and studied the styrene/butyl acrylate/carboxylic acid system.

Somaieh Salehpour is a 2007 M.A.Sc. graduate. Her thesis studies focused on solution polymerization kinetics for environmentally friendly systems.

Nicolas Brooks completed his M.A.Sc. thesis in 2007. He developed polymerization models using the Java programming language. His work extends that completed by Marc Laplante to include emulsion polymerizations.

Stéphane Roberge completed his M.A.Sc. thesis program in 2005. Stéphane studied the in-line monitoring of styrene/butyl acrylate miniemulsion polymerizations using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. In addition, he examined the effects of particle size on miniemulsion-based pressure sensitive adhesives.

Marc Laplante is a 2004 graduate from the M.A.Sc. program under the co-supervision of myself and Dr. David Taylor (Chem. Eng., Univ. of Ottawa). Marc’s developed a multi-component bulk and solution polymerization simulator using the Java programming language.

Renata Jovanovic graduated in 2004 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She examined structure-property relations of butyl acrylate/vinyl acetate emulsion-based pressure sensitive adhesives.

Marie-Soleil Giguère graduated in 2003 with an M.Sc. in Chemistry. Her work involved the use of electro-spray ionization mass spectrometry for the characterization of polymer molecular weights.  Dr. Paul Mayer (Chemistry) and myself co-supervised Marie-Soleil.

Tony Rivard completed his MASc degree in 2002 and investigated the kinetics of styrene/butyl acrylate polymerization.

Kim Merrett completed her MASc degree in 2002. She investigated the use of growth factors in biomedical polymers.  Dr. Heather Sheardown (McMaster, Chem. Eng.) and myself were her co-supervisors.

Xiaodong Duan completed his MASc degree in 2001 and worked on the development of novel biomaterials. Specifically, he developed new methods to incorporate dendrimers into polyurethanes to facilitate the eventual incoporation of PEO into the polyurethane. He was co-supervised by myself, Dr. May Griffith from the Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Dr. Heather Sheardown from McMaster University’s Chemical Engineering Department.

Renata Jovanovic completed her MASc degree in early 2001 and was studying the use of an in-line infrared sensor to monitor butyl acrylate/vinyl acetate solution and emulsion polymerizations at the bench and pilot plant scale.  Her work included modeling the solvent effect of this system and the evaluation of mechanical properties of the latexes. Renata has submitted some of her work for publication; please see my publications page for more details.

Hong Hua completed his MASc degree in 2000 and was studying the use of an in-line infrared sensor to monitor multicomponent solution and emulsion polymerizations at the bench and pilot plant scale.  Hong has submitted some of his work for publication in various journals; please see my publications page for more details.

Éric Poirier, a graduate of the MEng program in 1999, conducted a review of terpolymerization kinetics.

Chris Badeen completed his MASc degree in 1999 and developed a mathematical model to simulate multicomponent bulk and solution polymerizations using the Java programming language.  The model included depropagation kinetics and was used to predict conversion, copolymer composition and molecular weights for the MMA/a-MS bulk and solution polymerization. Chris has also developed an interesting Java applet describing emulsion polymerization!

Malik Hakim completed his MASc degree in 1998 and was studying the kinetics of butyl acrylate/methyl methacrylate copolymerization at high temperatures.  Malik has published some of his work in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science; please see my publications page for details.