Plastic is forever -- or not

August 29, 2001

(Blacksburg, Va., Aug. 29, 2001) -- Once materials are joined to create a polymer, or plastic, the molecules are traditionally irreversibly linked. This is a concern when a product has reached the end of its useful life and the material cannot be degraded or separated into its components for reuse.

Now, Virginia Tech researchers are reversing the irreversible.

In a presentation at the American Chemical Society's 222nd national meeting, Aug. 26-30 in Chicago, researchers will talk about polymers that can be reversed, or disconnected, using heat.

"We are using hydrogen bonding in combination with living polymerization techniques to create polymer molecules with well-defined, reversible architectures," explains Tim Long of Virginia Tech's chemistry department. "If you glue something together at the molecular level, you should be able to take it apart."

The researchers are most interested in thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), a rubbery material based on block co-polymers -- polymer molecules created by linking long units of first one component or monomer, then another. "Another exciting application would be new adhesives that could simply be reversed with heat," says Long.

In a talk on "Synthesis and characterization of telechelic multiple hydrogen-bonded polymers via living anionic polymerization (PMSE 278), Koji Yamauchi, a visiting international scientist from Toray Industries in Japan, will talk about his and Long's work to synthesize nano-phase separated polystyrene and polyisoprene based materials containing reversible linkages.

In addition to the controlled synthesis of the novel copolymers, the melt viscosity behavior, morphology, and hydrogen bond dissociation temperatures will be described. The researchers monitored the entire process in real-time using in-situ infrared spectroscopy.
-end-
Yamauchi will present his research on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 2:30 p.m., in McCormick Place South Room S103A, Level 1.

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

Virginia Tech

Related Polymers Articles from Brightsurf:

Seeking the most effective polymers for personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment, like face masks and gowns, is generally made of polymers.

Ultraheavy precision polymers
An environmentally friendly and sustainable synthesis of ''heavyweight'' polymers with very narrow molecular weight distributions is an important concept in modern polymer chemistry.

FSU researchers help develop sustainable polymers
Researchers at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering have made new discoveries on the effects of temperature on sustainable polymers.

Structural colors from cellulose-based polymers
A surface displays structural colors when light is reflected by tiny, regular structural elements in a transparent material.

Growing polymers with different lengths
ETH researchers have developed a new method for producing polymers with different lengths.

Exciting new developments for polymers made from waste sulfur
Researchers at the University of Liverpool are making significant progress in the quest to develop new sulfur polymers that provide an environmentally friendly alternative to some traditional petrochemical based plastics.

Polymers can fine-tune attractions between suspended nanocubes
In new research published in EPJ E, researchers demonstrate a high level of control over a type of colloid in which the suspended particles take the form of hollow, nanoscale cubes.

Functional polymers to improve thermal stability of bioplastics
One of the key objectives for contemporary chemistry is to improve thermomechanical properties of polymers, in particular, thermostability of bioplastics.

Fluorescent technique brings aging polymers to light
Modern society relies on polymers, such as polypropylene or polyethylene plastic, for a wide range of applications, from food containers to automobile parts to medical devices.

Polymers to the rescue! Saving cells from damaging ice
Research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society by University of Utah chemists Pavithra Naullage and Valeria Molinero provides the foundation to design efficient polymers that can prevent the growth of ice that damages cells.

Read More: Polymers News and Polymers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.