Thursday, January 27, 2011


I ran across the concept of "baroplastics" yesterday [*], something that I had not heard before, although given their discovery occur in the 2003 timeframe, I personally understand why. These are polymers that can be processed at room temperature while under (significant) pressure, roughly around 5000 psi (35 MPa). There is nice letter in Nature (open access) that shows examples of materials being reprocessed up to 10 times without a noticeable loss of properties. All the materials are diblock copolymers, and the pressure is able to change the thermodynamic compatibility of the two blocks so that they are compatible.

It's a neat concept, and given that 8 years have passed and nothing seems to have commercialized from it, a concept is all that it may end up being. Still, I find it pleasing that something so simple could be discovered from a rather commonplace material.

[*] Rather sadly, as it was mentioned in the obituary for the MIT professor, Anne Mayers, who discovered these polymers.

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