Tuesday, August 03, 2010

From the Archives of Polymer Chemistry

The Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry is making available the 20 most cited articles to ever appear within their pages. Looking down the list, there are a few that I can comment on:

1) This 1954 article discloses the discovery of the Flory-Fox equation: Tg = Tg,∞ - K/Mn. The work was originally down with polystyrene, and guessing from the age, the fractions were probably prepared by the labor-intensive fractional precipitation procedure - pity poor Mr. Fox for being the grad student undertaking that!

2) There also a 1956 article by Dr. Natta of Ziegler-Natta catalyst fame. I don't seen the research as being ground breaking as it was only the polymerization of 1,2 butadiene.

3) More recently is the 1973 paper with the name Hideki Shirakawa attached. The paper is on the polymerization of polyacetylene of high enough molecular weight to form films. Polyacetylene was the first inherently conductive polymer and Mr. Shirakawa won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this (and follow up) pioneering work. Polyacetylene had been previously made prior to this publication, but I think this is the first time that a high molecular weight had been prepared, in this case because MR. Shirakawa has miscalculated the amount of catalyst needed and added 1000x the normal amount.

Other papers are review as would be expected. Review papers always collect high citation counts. The remainder of the papers do not have any significance to me. Anyone?

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