Project summary:

This project aims to develop innovative covalent adaptable networks, also known as vitrimers, utilizing bio-based materials like D-isosorbide or polyterpenes. These vitrimers are distinguished by their remarkable fusion of thermoset-like durability and thermoplastic-like recyclability. We plan to create two forms of these networks: elastomeric and glassy, incorporating dynamic ester and/or vinylogous urethane linkages. These linkages are key as they facilitate thermal-initiated associative exchange reactions. Our research will focus on examining how the composition of the polymer, the structure of the network, and the density of crosslinking influence the thermal and mechanical properties of these bio-based vitrimers, as well as their ability to be recycled. By combining two types of dynamic bonds, we anticipate gaining greater control over the exchange reactions, enabling network rearrangement and optimizing conditions for efficient physical recycling. Thanks to the multidisciplinary character of the project, the student will gain expertise in synthetic polymer/organic chemistry, physical chemistry and physics of polymers, as well as polymer processing and mechanical testing.

References:

  1. Denissen, W., Winne, J. M., & Du Prez, F. E. (2016). Vitrimers: permanent organic networks with glass-like fluidity. Chemical science, 7(1), 30-38.
  2. Zheng, J., Png, Z. M., Ng, S. H., Tham, G. X., Ye, E., Goh, S. S., ... & Li, Z. (2021). Vitrimers: Current research trends and their emerging applications. Materials Today51, 586-625.

The successful candidate should have at least basic skills in synthetic organic/polymer chemistry, experience with controlled polymerization reactions is an advantage.

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