Researchers use water instead of solvent to produce a new acrylic

August 22, 2000

The production of polymers without the use of solvents is an ongoing goal for chemists in industry and academe. Strategies have including melt polymerization, where the material is heated then formed with out solvents, for example.

Now, Virginia Tech researchers have synthesized a novel acrylic blend using water instead of organic solvents. Graduate student Phillip H. Madison IV of Richmond, Va. will report on the research at the 220th national meeting of the American Chemical Society Aug. 20-24 in Washington, D.C.

Chemistry professor Timothy Long explains, "Since most acrylic plastics don't dissolve in water, we are introducing carbohydrates to solubilize the organic monomers. That is, the carbohydrate neutralize the acrylic's hydrophobic properties, allowing the novel carbohydrate/acrylic polymer to form in water.

"This research is part of an effort at Virginia Tech to use the macromolecule-biomolecule interface more effectively," says Long.
Madison and Long's poster, "Methylated-ß-cyclodextrin mediated aqueous polymerization of hydrophobic methacrylic monomers (POLY 344)," will present information about the process and the characteristics of the new blend. It will be part of the joint polymer/polymeric materials:science and engineering poster session on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. in Convention Center Exhibit Hall D.

Learn more about Virginia Tech chemistry research at

Specific information is available under the faculty member's name. PR Contact: Susan Trulove

Virginia Tech

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