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News

Higher molecular weight polymer synthesized; means stronger materials

Virginia Polytechnic Institute And State University : 07 April, 2002  (Technical Article)
A Virginia Tech graduate student is synthesizing polymers at higher molecular weights than previously seen, opening the door for stronger elastomer materials, such as are used in tires.
A Virginia Tech graduate student is synthesizing polymers at higher molecular weights than previously seen, opening the door for stronger elastomer materials, such as are used in tires.

Virginia Tech chemistry graduate student David Williamson has used a relatively unexplored monomer, or building block for polymers, called 1,3-cyclohexadienes. 'He is synthesizing polymers at molecular weights higher than anyone has seen,' says Virginia Tech chemistry professor Timothy E. Long.

The higher the weight, the better polymer performs, Long explains. 'These higher molecular weight materials open the door for the creation of better elastomers and other rubbery materials.

'Think of cooked spaghetti. Once it's cooked and in the strainer, you can't pick one strand out,' Long says. 'The entanglement provides strength and imparts mechanical properties such as higher elongation or 'stretchiness'.'

Williamson's presentation, 'Synthesis of High Molecular Weight Telechelic Poly(1,3-cyclohexadienes)' (Poly 118), will explain the new end groups and synthesis of the monomer. Co-authors are graduate student Casey L. Hudelson and Long. The poster will be presented Sunday, April 7, beginning at 6 p.m. in Convention Center Hall C..

The research is supported by the ACS Petroleum Research fund and by Kraton Polymers of Houston.
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