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Influence of swelling and diffusion-induced convection on polymer sorption processes
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Unsteady-state sorption of a vapor or liquid by a polymer is modeled to include the influence of the moving phase boundary associated with the polymer swelling and diffusion-induced convection. A formulation presented clearly elucidates the influence of these two effects on the overall sorption process. Numerical solutions of the model equations indicate the errors that can be induced when swelling or convection are neglected. For most polymer-solvent systems, the influence of the diffusion-induced convection associated with volume changes in mixing can be neglected in the analysis of sorption processes. In contrast, the correction for the moving boundary or swelling of the polymer phase can be quite significant, particularly when a large step change in solvent concentration is considered.