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Fundamental and Applied Research

Fundamental research, new mathematical and analytical approaches and the implementation of this knowledge to applied research

Goals
Understanding the fundamental processes occurring at the microscopic scale in macromolecular systems and correlations with macroscopic behavior, in order to enable control over the material properties.
 
Focus
The development and application of new methods with highly focused but broadly applicable, interdisciplinary capabilities to be used by scientists working in both fundamental and applied fields. These allow, by conception, design, execution and analysis of complex macromolecular and colloid experiments, advances in polymer physics, characterization of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems, synthesis of materials with optimized properties, predictive control of kinetics for targeted material properties
 
Fundamental and applied research involving equilibrium/ quasi-equilibrium and non-equilibrium processes using both traditional and PolyRMC developed methodologies:

  • Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring of Polymerization (ACOMP
  • Simultaneous Multiple Sample Light Scattering (SMSLS)
  • Heterogeneous Time Dependent Light Scattering (HTDSLS)
  • Multi-detector Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC)
  • Automatic Continuous Mixing (ACM)

Fundamental studies of polymerization kinetics and mechanisms:

  • Free radical homo- and copolymerization
  • Step growth
  • Controlled radical (co)polymerization (ATRP, NMP, RAFT) and other living types (ROMP)
  • Batch, semi-batch, continuous, pressurized reactors
  • Solvent, bulk (viscosity up to 106cP)
  • Heterogeneous phase polymerization; free and controlled radical routes
  • Grafting and cross-linking reactions, multiblock syntheses
  • Predictive and feedback control of reactions
  • Monitoring the evolution of stimuli responsiveness in tailored polymers
  • Post-polymer modifications; e.g. hydrolysis, quaternization

Automated, online, multi-detector methods provide massive data streams yielding rich, comprehensive characterization of equilibrium properties and non-equilibrium processes in polymer solutions for both fundamental and applied goals

Important characteristics of polymer products:

  • Molecular weight distributions and averages
  • Dimensions, static and hydrodynamic
  • Intrinsic viscosity
  • Branching/ cross-linking
  • Aggregated/microgel fraction of polymer
  • Charged polymer linear charge density
  • Copolymer composition
  • Stimuli responsiveness of polymers

Important processes during polymerization reactions:

  • Kinetics
  • Conversion of monomers
  • Evolution of molecular weight distribution
  • Evolution of intrinsic viscosity
  • Charged polymers
  • Composition drift and distribution
  • Unexpected problems; premature reaction termination, microgelation, exotherms
  • Heterogeneous phase changes; e.g. partitioning
  • Onset and evolution of stimuli responsiveness of polymers