Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smart polymers: Complex matter where simplicity matters

15.09.2014

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz unveil the microscopic mechanism behind the puzzling co-non-solvency effect that leads to smart polymer collapse in a mixture of good solvents.

MPI-P scientists Kurt Kremer and Debashish Mukherji, together with their collaborator Carlos Marques from the French Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), propose a novel framework to understand the solubility of smart polymers in solvent mixtures. Combining “generic” molecular simulations with analytical theory, they solve a long standing question to explain the microscopic mechanism behind smart polymer collapse in mixtures of good solvents. Their results and findings are published in the most recent issue of the scientific journal “Nature Communications”.


Stimuli responsive polymers show an interesting coil-globule-coil transition in mixed solvents

© Nature Communications


Polymer collapse dynamics

© D. Mukherji

Smart polymers are a modern class of polymeric material: they can be both artificial and produced by chemists or natural, as is the case for peptides. They exhibit a wide range of exotic and unpredictable behaviors when dissolved in mixed solutions. For example, while water and alcohol are well miscible and, individually, good solvents for several smart polymers, the latter precipitate in water-alcohol mixtures.

The intriguing behavior of solvent mixtures that cannot dissolve a given polymer, when the same macromolecule dissolves well in each of the cosolvents, is termed as co-non-solvency. Thus far the understanding of this effect is a matter of intense debate and, as such, it has eluded any generic explanation. Combining molecular dynamics simulations and analytical theory, they show that the co-non-solvency effect is a generic (independent of chemical details) phenomenon.

Their findings suggest that when a polymer is dissolved in a mixture of solvents, such that one of the (co)solvents likes the polymer even more than the other, this co-non-solvency effect can be observed. Therefore, a broad range of polymers are expected to present similar reentrant behavior.

One of the most intriguing findings of this work is that a polymer collapses even when the solvent quality becomes better-and-better by the addition of the better cosolvent, making the polymer conformation independent of the solvent quality. “This decoupling of solvent quality and polymer conformation is unexpected and new, opening interesting views for instance on the solution processing of polymers or biomedical applications such as pharmaceutical encapsulation” explains Kurt Kremer, director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research.

These results not only provide the microscopic understanding of the co-non-solvency effect, but they also open new perspectives towards an operational understanding of macromolecular solubility within a simplified computational and/or theoretical framework.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/4047686/Smart-polymers - press release and original publication
http://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/polymer_theory - information about Prof. Kremer's research
http://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/home/en - Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

Natacha Bouvier | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

Further reports about: Max-Planck-Institut Polymer Smart analytical exotic generic matter microscopic solvents unpredictable

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>