University of Manchester

Assessment of poly methyl methacrylate material by X-ray computed tomography

Fabien Nardoux
Project Completed

Scientific Case

Sanitaryware has traditionally been produced by slip casting in which a clay slip is poured into a plaster mould made from gypsum, which is employed due to its low cost, versatility and strength. However, gypsum moulds have a number of disadvantages, including: deterioration on contact with water; deformation; and long set times, with a large number of moulds being required to maintain a commercial process. These drawbacks have led to attempts to find a replacement material for gypsum, but despite their commercial importance, the development of new materials has received little academic attention.
Synthetic polymer moulds are made from porous poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), produced by polymerising methyl methacrylate (MMA) from an MMA-in-water emulsion into which pre-formed PMMA beads are dispersed. The present project has shown that the composition of the emulsion dramatically affects the final properties of the material. Control of the emulsion stage of the reaction allows for tuning of the porous PMMA properties, enabling porosity and strength to be tailored. The overall objective of this project to probe the fundamental chemistry underlying the preparation of porous PMMA materials in order to facilitate a scientifically-based rationale for their design.

Experiment Design


smallest feature of interest: 5 um
resolution: 3 um
Scanners and Rigs
Nikon Custom 320kV Bay
Not Required

Sample & Safety

Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report