Polymer Materials Synthesis

The department is involved in various areas of polymer research, which include the synthesis of block and graft copolymers, applications of anionic polymerization, polymer materials with non-linear optical and/or electroluminescent properties, etc. The department has extensive facilities for polymer synthesis (see facilities listing below). These resources allow students to conduct polymer synthesis using state-of-the-art techniques. New methodologies involve the synthesis of different nonlinear block and graft architectures, electroluminescent polymers and oligomers, and polymers containing transition metal complexes for non-linear optical and biological applications.

Our facilities for polymer synthesis include:

  • eight double manifold high vacuum lines
  • 15 fume hoods
  • various schlenckware
  • CEMCO 4-L inert atmosphere polymerization apparatus
  • Paar high pressure stirred reactor
  • polymer fractionation vessels
  • four inert atmosphere glove boxes
  • fully equipped laboratory benches for purification
  • scale-up of various organic and polymer synthesis schemes

Polymer Molecular and Physical Characterization

We have assembled in the chemistry department one of the best polymer characterization facilities in the country. Students have hands-on access to these state-of-the art facilities for characterizing polymer molecular weights, molecular sizes, and thermal properties. These characteristics determine the properties and thus the potential applications of these polymers. We utilized the Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry methods to characterize various synthetic polymers produced in our laboratories. We are continuously developing new methodologies for analysis of polymer molecular properties combining synthesis of model polymers and determining structure-property relationships.

Our facilities for characterization include:

  • PerSeptive Biosystems Voyager Elite DE MALDI/TOF/MS with linear and reflectron detectors and Interplate LC fraction collector (Advantec SF-2120)
  • Jupiter Instrument Company membrane osmometer
  • UIC Inc. Vapor Pressure Osmometer Model 070
  • Waters Alliance size exclusion chromatograph with photodiode array and differential refractometer detectors
  • two Waters Size Exclusion Chromatographs, incorporating model 515 pumps and model 410 differential refractometers (Waters 510 pump is also available)
  • a LDC/Milton Roy Spectrophotometer 3 tunable UV detector and a Viscotek Model 100 differential viscometer serve as additional detectors
  • LC transform fraction collector for MALDI and FTIR
  • three Chromatix KMX-6 low-angle laser light scattering photometers and one Wyatt Technology DAWN-DSP multi-angle laser light scattering photometer (these instruments may be used off-line or on-line as detectors for SEC)
  • Otsuka Electronics DRM-1020 double beam differential refractometer
  • Brice-Phoenix differential refractometer
  • Perkin-Elmer Sigma 3B gas chromatograph
  • three vacuum ovens
  • Mettler differential scanning calorimeter (DSC30) and thermogravimetric analyzer (TG 50)