The incorporation of reversible bonds in covalent polymers networks has allowed polymer materials to become responsive and environmentally adaptive, leading to ‘smart’ materials that are for example self-healing or malleable. To enable a more rational synthesis of structurally dynamic (polymeric) materials, in this project a systematic design approach is pursued in which the bulk polymer properties can be fine-tuned by control over the small-molecule kinetics of the dynamic covalent motifs present in the polymer material.
To this end we will synthesize a set of so-called Tunable Dynamic Motifs (TDMs), based on the dynamic covalent imine bond, whose exchange kinetics can be tuned –over multiple orders of magnitude– by control over the electronegativity of the substituents. By incorporation of these TDMs in covalent polymer networks a ‘handle’ is introduced into the polymer network that can be used to control the exchange rates and corresponding relaxation rate, thus offering control over the macroscopic material properties by systematic small-molecule variation (figure 1).
Based on these studies, it will be possible to rationally design polymer materials with specific, pre-determined properties in a bottom-up fashion. As a proof of concept two types of functional dynamic polymer materials will be developed: firstly a room-temperature, autonomously self-healing polymer, and secondly a recyclable thermoset polymer will be synthesized.
Techniques to be used
Synthetic techniques, various chromatographic separation and isolation techniques, NMR, Mass spectrometry, GPC, UV/vis, DLS, AFM, rheometry and electron microscopy.
For more information
Maarten Smulders, room 8.057, tel. 0317-480435, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.