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Drying of semicrystalline polymers: Mathematical modeling and experimental characterization of poly(vinyl alcohol) films
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A mathematical model was developed to predict the drying mechanism of semicrystalline polymers involving multiple solvents. Since drying of semicrystalline polymers can be accompanied by changes in polymer degree of crystallinity, the model integrates crystallization kinetics and the Vrentas-Duda diffusion model to provide a better understanding of the mechanism. The model considers the effect of external conditions such as temperature, film shrinkage and diffusion and evaporation of multiple solvents during drying. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)/water/methanol was chosen as a test system. The drying kinetics of PVA films swollen in water and methanol were investigated using gravimetric techniques. The model predicts that higher temperatures, lower film thicknesses and lower methanol to water ratios increase the drying rate. The model predictions were compared with experimental data and showed good agreement.