Cavitation-Induced Reactions in High-Pressure Carbon Dioxide

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Science  06 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5600, pp. 1969-1971
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078022

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The feasibility of ultrasound-induced in situ radical formation in liquid carbon dioxide was demonstrated. The required threshold pressure for cavitation could be exceeded at a relatively low acoustic intensity, as the high vapor pressure of CO2 counteracts the hydrostatic pressure. With the use of a dynamic bubble model, the formation of hot spots upon bubble collapse was predicted. Cavitation-induced radical formation was used for the polymerization of methyl methacrylate in CO2, yielding high-molecular-weight polymers. These results show that sonochemical reactions can be performed in dense-phase fluids, which allows the environmentally benign CO2 to replace conventional organic solvents in many reaction systems.

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