Errors associated with swelling in the analysis of polymer-solvent diffusion measurements
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Sorption curves are generated from a mathematical model which includes the influence of the polymer swelling for unsteady-state sorption of a vapor or liquid by a polymer. To investigate the simultaneous effects of the specific volumes of the polymer-penetrant pair and the difference between the final and initial equilibrium concentrations on the sorption curves, statistical experimental design approach is used. Simulation results obtained from the numerical solution of model equations are utilized to estimate the error that would occur if one simply evaluates the diffusion coefficient using the traditional formulas derived from the analytical solution of the sorption equation. An empirical expression is developed that describes the effects of the difference between the final and initial equilibrium concentrations and the specific volumes of the polymer and the penetrant on the magnitude of error in diffusivity associated with the use of one of these traditional formulas so called the initial slope method. The predictive ability of the regression model is tested by performing additional simulations not used in the regression analysis.