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Патент USA US2406403

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Aug. 27, 1946.
H. G. ROGERS
2,406,403 ‘
POLYHERIZING APPARATUS AND METHOD
I8
33
By '
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Aug. 27,1946.
„,ÀG, ROGERS ,
A2,406,403
POLYMERIZING APPARATUS AND METHOD
`Filed lay 1, 1943
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
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Patented Aug. 427, 1946l -
2,406,403 ~
UNITED STATES PATENT oFFlcE
POLYMERIZING APPARATUS AND METHOD n
.Howard G. Rogers, Wellesley Hills, Mass., assign
or to Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, Mass., a
corporation of Delaware
Application May 1, 1943, Serial No. 485,306
27 claims. (ci. 1s'-1)
l
2
,
This invention relates to the formation of plas
tic elements and more particularly to apparatus
and methods for preparing a. polymerizable
monomer for molding.
only and are not intended as a deñnitlon of the
limits of the invention, reference being primarily
had for this latter purpose to the appended claims.
In the drawings wherein like reference charac
ters refer to like parts throughout the several
~
In the fabrication of accurately surfaced and
shaped plastic elements, such as lenses and
prisms, best results are obtained when the plastic
views;
, Figure 1 is a. view, partly in elevation and partly
in section, of one form of apparatus for carrying
out the present invention;
' monomer is partially polymerized before being
introduced into the mold for hardening. This
minimizes shrinkage and heat of polymerization 10
Fig. 2 is a view, partly in elevation and with '
during hardening and tends to avoid surface de
parts broken away, showing another embodiment
of the invention whereby a continuous output of
formation, non-homogeneltyand internal strains
partial polymer may be obtained; and
in Itthe
is finished
accordingly
product.
one object of the present in
Fig. 3 is a. sectional view with parts broken
vention to provide a novel method and apparatus_ 15 away, taken substantially along line 3-3 of Fig. 2.
whereby a monomer or a partial polymer may
The apparatus illustrated in Fig. 1, by way of
example, comprises a pair of laterally spaced,
have a predetermined proportion of the monomer
thereof polymerized to produce a homogeneous
parallel piston and cylinder mechanisms nIII and
polymer-in-monomer solution, said solution being
II suitably mounted on a'support consisting of a
sufficiently fluid to be readily introduced into a 20 pair of substantially parallel, vertically spaced
plates I2 and I3, said plates being rigidly held in
Another object is to provide novel apparatus
spaced relation by a plurality of vertical mem
mold.
of the above type which is adapted to effect or _
bers, such as rods I4. Mechanisms I0 and II are
alike and accordingly only one is described in
advance the partial polymerization to obtain a
Viscous, homogeneous mass.
.
25 detail, corresponding numerals designating like
parts of said mechanism.
°
Still another object is to provide a n_ovel appa
ratus of the above character whereby a. continu
ous output of partial polymer having a predeter
mined concentration of polymer may beobtained.
A further object is to provide novel apparatus 30
As shown, mechanism Ill comprises a cylinder
I5 having a iianged upper end I6 whereby it is
rigidly secured to upper plate I2», for example by
screws I 1. A hollow piston I8 is slidably mounted
whereby a fluid mass may be subjected to mixing ‘
in said cylinder, and has the lower end thereof
and circulation by mechanical kneading.
closed and provided with an outwardly extending
Still further objects are to' provide novel appa
ñange I9 whereby a substantially fiat surface of
ratus wherein a plastic mass is adapted to be
comparatively large area is provided at the lower
partially polymerized and a novel method of 35 end of said piston. Means are provided for re
introducing the mass into a mold from said
siliently opposing downward movement of plunger
apparatus.
I8, said means, as shown, consisting of a plurality
of coiled springs 20 which are preferably under
above character which, when utilized for poly
tension and which have the ends thereof secured
merizing a monomer, does not inhibit polymer- 40 to flanges I6 and I9. Screws I'I are preferably
ization.
.
utilized to secure the upper end of each of said
Further objects are the provision of a simple,
springs to ñange I6, and screws 2I may be pro
compact, durable and inexpensive device for sub
vided for similarly securing the lower end of each
jecting different portions of a yielding mass to
' of said springs to flange I9.
rpressure and of novel yielding- means for co- 45
To move plungers, I8 downwardly against the
operating with said device, said means being
resistance of springs 20, fluid under pressure is
adapted to contain a quantity of polymerizable
introduced into the upper end of each of the cyl
material, such as styrene, without contaminating
inders I5 of mechanisms I0 and II, and, in the
a Still another object is to provide a device of the
or exposing the- latter to the atmosphere.
form illustrated, the means for accomplishing this
The above and other objects and novel features 50 comprise conduits 22 and 23, respectively, each
of the invention will morefully appear from the
of which communicates at one end with a cylin
following detailed description when the same is
der end and at the other end is adapted to be
read in connection with the accompanying draw
connected by suitable valve means 24 to a conduit
ings. It is to bev expressly understood, however,
y25, the- latter conduit being, in-turn, connected
that the drawings are for purposes of illustration 55 to a source of compressed airl as for example a
2,406,403
4
pump (not shown). Valve means 24 acts to alter
lution homogeneous and in condition for intro
nately admit and exhaust air to and from each of
duction into a mold. The introduction into the
cylinders I5 and also governs the flow of air so
mold may be accomplished either by pouring or
that while air is being admitted to one of said
by injecting the partial polymer from container
cylinders it is being exhausted from the other,
33. A method of readily injecting the polymeric
causing plungers I 6 to move in opposite directions.
mass into the mold in a novel manner consists
Valve means 24 preferably comprises a piston
in forming an orifice in the container preferably
type slide valve 28 mounted for reciprocation in
at one end thereof and thereafter squeezing the
a cylinder 21 and actuated by suitable means,
material from the container through said orifice
such as a crank 28, which is connected by a link 10 into the mold. By means of the above method
29 to valve rod 30. A pair of exhaust ports 3I
and apparatus, partial polymers suitable for
and 32 are provided in opposite ends of said cyl
molding optical elements have been obtained
inder and are adapted to cooperate with conduits
which have a polymeric concentration between 65
22 and 23, respectively, to permit air to be dis
charged from mechanisms I0 and II at predeter
mined points in the valve stroke. In operation,
reciprocation of valve 26 alternately connects
conduit 23 to conduit 25 and to port 32 and also
alternately connects conduit 22 to conduit 25 and
to port 3I, the connections being such that when
conduit 23 communicates with conduit 25, con
duit 22 communicates with exhaust port 3l. and
when conduit 23 communicates with port 32, con
duit 22 is open to conduit 25. Accordingly, for
each revolution of crank 28, plungers I8 move
and 70 percent.
Referring to Figs. 2 and 3, there is shown some
through a .complete cycle and in opposite direc- '
ÈÍOIIS.
_
1
In order to polymerize a plastic monomer such
what diagrammatlcally another embodiment of
the invention whereby a continuous output of
partial polymer of predetermined polymer con
centration may be obtained. In the form `illus
trated, the novel apparatus comprises a platform
35 having mounted thereon a comparatively long,
deformable, open ended container or tube 36
which is impervious to air and is internally lined
with, or formed from, a material that is inert to
the mass which is to be polymerized. It is satis
factory, particularly for the polymerization of
styrene and cyclohexyl methacrylate, to form said
container from laminated polyvinyl alcohol sheet,
as styrene, a novel means is provided for co
o`r from canvas internally lined with polyvinyl
operation with the above described mechanism, 30 alcohol.
comprising a- flexible container 33 formed of` or
According to the novel method of the present
internally lined with a material which is inert
invention the mass to be polymerized, for example
to said monomer, polyvinyl alcohol constituting
styrene monomer, is continuously fed into one
a satisfactory material for styrene- Container 33
end of tube 36 as from a tank or other source 31,
initially has a cylindrical shape and is open at 35 and is continuously discharged from its other end
both ends, one end thereof being thereafter sealed_
into a storage container or directly into molding
by overlapping the marginal portions thereof and
apparatus such as a prism mold 38.
clamping the overlapping portions between two
metallic strips 34 which are secured to each other
by bolts 35. The container is then partially filled 40
with styrene monomer 36, or other polymerizable ‘
plastic, and the air is exhausted therefromby
compressingv the walls `of the container until the
monomer level is substantially flush with the open
In order to mechanically knead the polymerized
mass admitted into tube 36 and simultaneously
propel said mass from the input to the discharge
end of said tube, a plurality of members, such as
rollers 39, are provided which are adapted to en
gage successive longitudinal portions of said tube
at different times -to press together the Walls of
end of said container, the marginal portions of 45 said tube and squeeze the polymerized mass in
the latter end being thereafter overlapped and
the desired direction. In the form illustrated,
sealed in the manner previously described. The
rollersv39 are mounted for rotary and limited ra
partially filled and sealed container is positioned
lengthwise beneath plungers I8 of mechanisms
dial movement about axes which are fixed rela
opposite the lower ends of said plungers. . When
the latter are rendered operative, opposite ends
of said container are alternately pressed between
said plungers and plate I3, causing the solution
in the container to ñow from one end to the other.
tudinally so that each extends over a different
tive to platform 35 in a plane substantially paral
I0 and II' so that portions thereof are disposed 50 lel to said platform, said axes being spaced longi
When polymerizing styrene monomer in the
above manner, the kneading by mechanisms I0
and II is carried out in an oven or other appa
ratus for maintaining container 33 and its con
tents at an elevated temperature, as for example
between 60 and ’70° C. Crank 28 is preferably ro-tated at approximately from 1 to 10 R. P. M. dur
ing the polymerization, although the speed
thereof may vary over a wide range without pro
ducing unsatisfactory results.
It is to be expressly understood that the above
apparatus and method may also be used for ad
portion of said tube and is substantially perpen
dicular to the longitudinal axis of the latter. To
this end, each of rollers 39 is mounted on a shaft
40 which has one end thereof slidably mounted
in a radial slot 4I provided in a disc 42, said
shaft being preferably biased radially outward by
suitable means, such as a coil spring 43, carried
by said disc. Discs 42 are, in turn, mounted on
shafts 44 journalled in bearings 45 (Fi-g. 3) which
are fixed relative to platform 35, shafts 44 being
driven, for example, from a common drive shaft
46, by means of helical gear drives 4l.
In operation, each of discs 42 is rotated at the
same speed and preferably in the same direction,
i. e., counterclockwise, as viewed in Fig. 2, and
rollers 39 are caused to engage the walls of tube
vancing the polymerization of a partially poly
36 and press the latter together while moving
merized solution. For example, styrene or other
from left to right over said tube. By mounting
'A vr"plastic monomer may be initially partially poly 70 said rollers for radial displacement relative to
meriz'ed and then the polymer solution may be
disc 42, contact between the tube and the rollers
introduced into container 33 and the latter sub
V may be maintained for almost 120° of each revo
jected to the mechanical kneading of apparatus
lution of said discs. Each of rollers 39 of suc
III, II. The latter operation acts'to increase the
cessive discs lags the previous roller, i. e., the
polymer concentration while maintaining the so 75 roller to the left thereof, by approximately 120°
amarnosy
5
so that the portion of the polymerizable mass
propelled forward by one of said rollers is, upon
disengagement ofthe latter roller from the tube,
acted upon by the next roller and pressed further
forward thereby. A sufficient number of rollers
39 is provided to impart to the polymerizable
mass which is discharged the desired viscosity
and polymer concentration.
2. The method of advancing the polymeriza
tion of a fluid mass of polymerizable -plastic ma
terial which comprises confining said mass in
a deformable container which is inert to said
mass, maintaining said container at a tempera
. ture adapted to induce polymerization of said
plastic, and successively compressing diiïerent
To maintain the >
mass in container 36 at an elevated temperature,
as for example of 60° to 70° C. when styrene is
being polymerized, a plurality of heating coils
48 may be embodied in platform 35.
,
.
, portions of said container to cause a circulation
and mixing 'of said mass.
10
3. The method of advancing the polymeriza
tion of a, lluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
terial which comprises confining said mass in a
There is thus provided a novel method whereby
deformable container, maintaining said contain-'
a plastic monomer may be partially polymerized
er at a temperature adapted to induce polymeri
or a partially polymerized solution may have th‘e 15 zation of said plastic, and causing circulation-
polymer concentration thereof readily increased
to produce a homogeneous fluid or viscous mass.
Suitable means are provided for carrying out the
and mixing of said mass within said container by
applying pressure to said container.
4. Th‘e method of- advancing the polymeriza-v
partial polymerization in batches and also -for
tion of a fluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
carrying out the partial polymerizationl continu 20 terial which comprises confining said mass in a
ously. Each apparatus produces the polymer so
deformable container, maintaining said contain-. `
lution without inhibiting the polymerization and
er at a temperature adapted to induce polymeri- ‘
is capable of subjecting a iluìd to a thorough
zation of said plastic, and causing circulation
mixture in an atmosphere which' is inert to said
and mixing of said mass within said container by
fluid. There is also provided a novel means for 25 changing'the shape of said container.
containing a polymerizable mass and apparatus
5. The method of advancing the polymeriza
for subjecting said means to a mechanical knead
tion of a iiuid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
ing whereby the mass is alternately and/or con
terial which comprises confining said mass in a
tinuously circulated from one end of the con
deformable container, maintaining said contain
tainer to the other. There is additionally pro 80 er at a temperature adapted to induce po'lymeri- ‘
vided a novel method for injecting moldable ma
zation of said plastic, and causing circulation
terial into a mold from the container of the ap
and mixing of said mass within said container by
paratus for carrying out the polymerization in
continuously changing the shape of said con
batches.
Although only two embodiments of the inven 35 6. The method of polymerizing styrene mono
tainer.
_
.
tion have been illustrated and described, it is to
mer which includes the steps of confining a mass
be expressly understood that the same is not lim
of said monomer in a polyvinyl alcohol container,
ited thereto. For example, it will now be appar
maintaining the container at a temperature be
ent to those skilled in the art that other types of
tween 60 and 70 degrees C., and alternately and
valve means maybe substituted for the piston
v repeatedly pressing together the side walls adja
type valve means 24. It is also to be understood
cent opposite ends of said container to reciprocate
that rotary rollers mounted as shown in Figs. 2
said mass from one end of said container to the
and 3,- may be used 'instead of the plungers of
other.
`
Fig. l to carry out «the discontinuous method of
7. The method of polymerizing styrene mono
polymerization of the latter apparatus, or that 45 mer which includes the steps of coniining a mass
a plurality of cylinders and plungers vcould be
comprising said monomer in a deformable con
substituted for the roller arrangement of Figs. 2
tainer having an internal surface which is inert
and 3 to effect lthe continuous polymerization.
' to styrene, exhausting the air from the container,
Moreover, one or more of rollers 39 in the ap
sealing the container, maintaining the sealed con
paratus of Figs. 2 and 3 may be rotated in an 50 tainer at a temperature adapted to induce poly- .
opposite direction to the others to augment the
merization, and alternately andrepeatedly press
mixing effect. Other means for applying pres
ing together the side walls adjacent opposite ends
sure to a. deformable container so as to mix and
of said container to reciprocate said mass from
advance the polymerization of a given polymer
one end of said container to the other.
izable mass, in accordance with the present in 55 v8. The method of polymerizing a monomer
vention, may also be employed, as will now be ap
which constitutes part or all of a ñuid mass, which
parent to those skilled in the art. Various other
comprises conñning the mass in a deformable
ch'anges may be made in the design and arrange
container, and polymerizing said monomer in
ment of ‘parts without departing frornthe spirit
said- container while kneading said container to
and scope of the invention.
,
60 induce circulation'and mixing of said mass.
It is also to be understood that the following
9. The methodA of advancing the polymeriza
claims are intended to cover all the generic and
tion of a fluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
specific features of the invention herein de
terial which comprises continuously introducing
scribed, and all statements ofthe scope of the in
said mass into one end of a container of substan
vention which, as a matter of language, might be 65 tial length which is inert to said mass, maintain
said to fall therebetween.
ing said container at a temperature adapted to
What is claimed is:
.
1. Th'e method of advancing the polymeriza
produce polymerization of said plastic, successive
ly compressing successive, longitudinal portions
tion of a iluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
of said container to mix said mass and cause a
terial which comprises confining said mass in a 70 -continuous i‘low of vsaid mass through the con
deformable container, maintaining said contain
tainer, and discharging the polymerized mass
er at a temperature adapted to induce polymeri
from the other‘end of said container.
zation of said plastic, and successively compress
10. Apparatus of the character described com
ing diiferent portions of said container to cause
prising, in combination, ,a deformable fluid-tight
-a circulation and mixing of said mass.
container adapted to be partially ñlled with a
2,406,403
7
8 ,
mass of polymerizable plastic material, means
sealing back endsv of said container, means for
supporting said sealed container, and means com
a roller eccentrically mounted on said disc for
rotary movement therewith and for limited radial
movement relatively thereto, and means for ro
prising a plurality of reciprocating elements ~
tating said disc whereby said roller is caused to
adapted to alternately engage and compress dif
ferent portions of said container to induce a re
ciprocating circulation of the mass contained
engage and compress said container during a sub
therein.
»
~
»
‘
>
11. In apparatus of the class described, yield
, stantial part of the travel of said roller.
17. >Apparatus of the character described com
prising, in combination, a deformable container
open at both ends thereof, means for admitting
able means adapted to contain a fluid mass,
a mass of polymerizable material into one end
means comprising a plurality of movable mem
of said container, a plurality of movable elements
adapted to engage and successively compress suc
bers for applying pressure to diiîerent portions
of said yieldable means at different times whereby
cessive portions of said container to propel said
polymerizable mass through said container and
for heating said fluid mass.
»
15 discharge the same at the other end of said con
tainer, and means for heating the polymerizable
12. In apparatus for polymerizing alluid mass
a circulation'of said mass is obtained, and means
material within said container.
comprising a quantity of monomer, in combina
18. Apparatus of the character described com
tion,y a flexible container adapted to be partially
prising, in combination, a. deformable container
ñlled with said mass, a plurality of mechanisms,
each of -said mechanisms comprising a movable 20 open at both ends thereof, means comprising a
support for said container, heating elements in
member, means for supporting said container: so
said support for heating thev contents of said
that a diiîerent portion thereof is disposed adja
container, means for admitting a mass of poly
cent each said member, and means comprising a
merizable material into one end of said container
source of compressed air and valve means coop
erating therewith for actuating said members so 25 and a plurality of movable elements adapted to
engage and successively compress'successive por
that each successively engages and compresses the
tions of said container to propel lsaidpolymeriz
portion of said container thereadjacent.
able mass throughsaid container and discharge
13. In apparatus for polymerizing a ñuid mass
the same at the other end of said container.
comprising a quantity of monomer, in combina
19. Apparatus of the character described com
tion, a ñexible container adapted to be partially 30
prising, in combination, a, tubular container of
filled with said mass, means for sealing the ends
substantial length open at both ends thereof and
of said container to render the latter fluid-tight,
formed from a flexible material, means compris
a plurality of mechanisms, each of said mech
ing a support for said container, heating ele
anisms comprising a movable member, means for
supporting said sealed container so that a differ 35 ments in said support for heating the contents of
ent portion thereof is disposed adjacent each said
member, and means for actuating said members
so that each successively engages and compresses
the portion of said container thereadjacent to
said container, means for admitting a mass of
polymerizable material into one end of said con
tainer, said container having the internal surface
thereof inert to said polymerizable mass, and a
induce reciprocating circulation of said mass, said 40 plurality of movable elementsadapted to engage
and successively compress successive portions ofv
said container to propel said polymerizable mass
through said container and discharge the same
at the other end of said container.
20. In apparatus for advancing the polymeriza
14. In apparatus of the class described, sup 45
tion of a mass of polymerizable, plastic material,
porting means including a platform, a plurality
a flexible container for said material, a plurality
of cylinders rigidly supported by said support
of mechanisms for compressing diiîerent portions
ing means and each having its axis disposed sub
of said container to circulate and mix said ma
stantially perpendicularly to said platform, a
plunger slidably mounted in each said cylinder for 50 terial, each of said mechanisms comprising a disc
and a roller eccentrically mounted on said disc.
reciprocation toward and away from said plat
for rotary movement therewith and for limited
’ form, resilient means normally opposing move
radial movement relative thereto, and means for
ment of leach said plunger in the direction of Said
rotating said discs to bring said rollers successive
platform, means communicating with each of said
»
cylinders, and means including valve means al 55 ly into contact with said container.
21. The method ofadvancing the polymeriza
ternately admitting and exhausting compressed
tion of a ñuid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
air to and from each said cylinder to elïect recip
terial, which comprises introducing said mass
rocation of said plungers.
,
ï
into one end of a container, maintaining said
15. Apparatus of the character described com
prising, in combination, a deformable container 60 container at a temperature adapted to induce
polymerization of said plastic, successively com
open at both ends thereof, means for admitting
pressing diil’erent portions of said container to
a mass of polymerizable material into one end‘of
mix said mass and to cause said mass to flow
said container, a plurality of rotating elements
through the container, and discharging the poly
adapted to Aengage and successively compress suc
cessive portions of said container to propel said 65 merized mass from theother endof said con
tainer.
polymerizable mass through said container and
22. The method of advancing the polymeriza
discharge the same at the other end of said con
tion of a ñuid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
tainer, and means for heating the polymerizable
terial, which comprises introducing said mass
material Within said container.
i
16. In apparatus for advancing the polymeriza 70 into .one end of a container which is inert to
said mass, maintaining said container at a tem
tion of a mass of polymerizable plastic material,
perature adapted to induce polymerization of said
a ñexible container for said material, a plurality
of mechanisms for compressing different portions
plastic, successively compressing different por
of said container to circulate and mix 'said mate
tions of said'container to mix said mass and to
rial, each of said mechanisms comprising a disc, 75 cause said mass to ñow through the container,
actuating means being adapted to apply pressure
to any predetermined one of said members simul
taneously with the release of pressure from an
other of said members.
2,406,403
and discharging the polymerized mass from the
other end of said container..
23. The method of advancing the polymeriza
‘ tion of a fluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
terial,fwhich comprises introducing said mass
into one end of a container, maintaining said
container at a temperature adapted to induce
polymerization of said plastic, causing said mass
10
tion thereof is disposed adjacent each said mem
ber, means for actuating said members so that
each successively engages and compresses the
portion of said container thereadjacent, and
means for heating said container and the con
tents thereof to a temperature adapted to induce
polymerization.
26. Apparatus of the character described com
to ñow through said container by applying pres
prising, in combination, a deformable container
sure to said container, and discharging the poly 10 adapted to be partially ñlled with a mass of poly
merized mass from the other _end of said conf
merizable plastic material, means for sealing said
tainer.
container, means for supporting said sealed con
_ 24. The method of advancing the polymeriza
tainer, and means comprising a plurality of mov
tion of a fluid mass of polymerizable plastic ma
able elements adapted to engage and compress
terial, which comprisesv introducing said mass 15 diiîerent portions of said container to induce
into one end of a container, maintaining said
reciprocating circulation of the mass contained
container at a temperature adapted to induce
polymerization of said plastic, causing said mass
27. In apparatus for polymerizing a ñuid mass
to flow through said container by changing the
comprising a quantity of monomer, in combina~
shape of said container, and discharging the poly 20 tion, a iiexible container adapted to be partially
therein.
merized mass from the other end of said con
tainer.
.
25.' In apparatus for advancing the polymeriza
Y
_
ñlled Iwith said mass, means for sealing said con
tainer, a plurality of mechanisms, each of said
mechanisms comprising a movable member,
tion of a ñuid mass comprising a quantity of
means for supporting said container so that a
monomer, in combination, a flexible container 25 different portion thereof is disposed adjacent each
adapted to be partially ñlled with said mass, a
said member, and means for actuating said mem
plurality of mechanisms, each of said mecha
nisms comprising a movable member, means for
supporting said container so that a different por
l bers so that each successively engages and com
presses a portion of said container thereadjacent.
HOWARD G. ROGERS.
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