'Bursting' polymer molecules being developed

April 07, 2002

Blacksburg, Va., April 7, 2002 -- Virginia Tech researchers are developing molecules that will change their shape in response to magnetic fields, electrical fields, heat, light, or pH.

The research will be presented at the 223rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, April 7-11 in Orlando.

Chemistry graduate student Lars Kilian is developing molecules that change their architectures upon command. For example, a star-shaped polymer would change to a linear shape, or reorganize, in the presence of acid.

"By putting special, responsive groups on the ends of the polymer chain, he is looking at a new way to make molecules reversible or change in response to some stimulus," explains Virginia Tech chemistry professor Timothy E. Long.

"Macromolecules that are amenable to topological reorganization offer exceptional promise for many emerging biomedical and adhesive applications," says Long. Potential medical applications are drug delivery, within the body to disease sites, and novel wound dressings.

"Topological reorganization of star-shaped polymers" (Poly 9) will be presented by Kilian at 8:20 a.m. Sunday, April 7, in Convention Center room 312A. level 3. Co-authors are graduate student Zhen-He Wang and chemistry professors Alan R. Esker and Long.
The research is funded by Carilion Biomedical Institute of Roanoke, Va.

PR CONTACT: Susan Trulove (540) 231-5646 STrulove@vt.edu

Virginia Tech

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