Simplifying Entangled Polymer Synthesis


Malvern's Viscotek 270max helps University of Houston team simplify polymer synthesis

Malvern, UK: University of Houston, USA, researchers have recently developed and verified a new route for synthesizing superior forms of entangled or knotted polymers with pre-designed characteristics for use in applications such as drug delivery and smart coatings. Using a Viscotek 270max triple detector gel permeation chromatography (GPC) system from Malvern Instruments, the Houston team successfully confirmed the innovative synthesis of interlocking polymer rings (catenanes) by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) from templated initiators. By combining refractive index (RI), viscosity and light scattering detection, the 270max provides reliable molecular weight data and easy detection of the degree of synthesis throughout the method development, as well as verifying the character of final polymers imaged using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

"The Viscotek 270max is critical to verifying this new method of polymerization," explained Professor Rigoberto Advincula, Department of Chemistry, University of Houston. "These are high molecular weight polymers and ring closure is a thermodynamically difficult reaction that must be done under dilute conditions. Using the triple detection offered by 270max, we were able to effectively characterize the molecular weight of our sample and detect the degree of ring closure versus the amount of non-closed polymer."

The University of Houston's initial success implies that it will be possible to synthesize superior knotted polymers for applications in coatings, lubricants and surface modifiers, among others. In terms of polymer theory, Professor Advincula's team also plans to make catenated and knotted block co-polymers. The project has been funded by the National Science Foundation (USA). A paper outlining the new method is being published in Chemical Communication from the Royal Society of Chemistry and is now available online at: bit.ly/C1CC13162A

The Viscotek 270max from Malvern Instruments is a complete, advanced, multidetector GPC/SEC system suitable for all macromolecular applications, particularly research. Further information can be found at: www.malvern.com/viscotek

Malvern, Malvern Instruments and Viscotek are registered trademarks of Malvern Instruments Ltd

About Malvern Instruments

Malvern Instruments is a market leader in measuring performance controlling material properties. These include particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, size and conformation, rheological properties and chemical identification. Malvern delivers the systems, support and expertise that ensure the analytical integrity and productivity needed to drive research, development and manufacturing.

Malvern's measurement solutions for scientists, technologists and engineers advance continually through customer collaboration. Complementary materials characterization systems deliver inter-related measurements that reflect the complexities of particulates and disperse systems, nanomaterials and macromolecules. Combining intelligently implemented technologies with in-depth industry applications knowledge and support, Malvern provides customers with the competitive advantage they demand.

Headquartered in Malvern, UK, Malvern Instruments has subsidiary organizations in all major European markets, North America, China, Japan and Korea, a joint venture in India, a global distributor network and applications laboratories around the world. www.malvern.com

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