Polymers that are porous are called foam polymers and are especially useful because they combine light weight with rigid mechanical properties. Now a researcher at the University of Rochester has developed a process to grow highly customizable coatings of foam-like polymers.
An initiated chemical vapor deposition (ICVD) system is used to convert a mixture of gases into foam polymer.
Credit: Photo by Adam Fenster/University of Rochester.)
The process, developed by Mitchell Anthamatten, a chemical engineer at the University's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Science, involves growing foam polymers directly from gases. His findings were published this week in the journal Macromolecular Rapid Communications.
"With this process we can grow polymer coatings in which the density and pore structure varies in space," said Anthamatten. "My hope is that the research leads to applications in a wide variety of fields, including medical, manufacturing, and high-tech research."
"This process is highly customizable, meaning that we can make adjustments along the way, shaping the material's pore structure and density as it is grown," said Anthamatten. "As a result, it will be easier to put foam polymers in hard-to-get-at places, or even on curved surfaces."
Anthamatten has worked on the project since 2008 and has received support from the National Science Foundation.
Foam polymers are used in a variety of ways, including the delivery of drugs in the body, as a framework for body tissues and implants, and as layers in laser targets for fusion research.
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