Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Macromolecular Engineering via Carbocationic Polymerization: Branched Structures, Block Copolymers and Nanostructures

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This article features macromolecular engineering via carbocationic polymerization, the focus of research of the recently established Macromolecular Engineering Research Centre (MERC) at the University of Western Ontario. The fundamental philosophy of MERC is interdisciplinary research with a strong industrial orientation, while emphasizing the quest for fundamental understanding of polymerization processes and polymer structure-property relationships. First, a brief overview of living polymerizations in general, and living carbocationic polymerizations in particular will be given. This latter technique is of interest because some monomers (e. g., isobutylene) can be polymerized by cationic techniques only, to yield polymers with unique properties (e. g., polyisobutylene with superior chemical and oxidative stability, low permeability and high damping). This will be followed by an overview of our research strategy and a summary of our latest results. These include the development of a fiber-optic mid-FTIR method for the real-time monitoring of low temperature polymerization processes, the discovery that selected epoxides initiate effectively the living carbocationic polymerization of isobutylene, fundamental studies into the mechanism and kinetics of living carbocationic polymerization, and the design and synthesis of various polymer architectures (e. g., branched homo- and block copolymers) with improved properties and nanostructured phase morphologies.

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Macromolecular Materials and Engineering





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