Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oh Brave New World!

I start a new aspect of my polymer chemistry career today - my first attempt at synthesizing an inorganic polymer. Up till now, acrylates, urethanes, ureas, polyesters (with and without styrene) and countless organic biobased substrates have been my playground. Today however, I need to strike out in a new direction, one where silicon and oxygen will now be the atoms of the polymers backbone. Carbon will still be around, but only as a moiety.

It's pretty exciting, not just because of the new chemistry, but also the chemicals themselves. I will be polymerizing silanes which react rapidly with moisture and many are flammable, all of which is in stark contrast to the organic materials listed above. We conducted our internal hazard review yesterday (more on how that works sometime soon - I promise) and got the green light to proceed.

With apologies to the Bard (The Tempest; Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 181-184)
Oh, wonder!
How many goodly chem'stries are there here!
How beauteous nature is! O brave new world,
That has such pol'mers in’t!

Previous Years
August 14, 2013 - The Pitch Drop Experiment for the Impatient

August 14, 2012 - Polymerizing Antioxidants


milkshaken said...

And now you can fashion your very own heat-resistant pair of replacement boobs that will remain flexible even when stored in the freezer...

Do you plan to use Pt-catalyzed hydrosilylation crosslink, or do you crosslink by moisture?

John said...

Yep, I gotta get out on the bike more and lose the pair I already have.

Moisture. And we're having a heck of a time preventing a premature reaction. As with most polymer chemists, I've really not worked before with chemicals that are sensitive to the environment (O2 inhibition of acrylates doesn't really count, does it?)

Unknown said...

I also just started working with inorganic silane polymers. It’s not going that well, sadly.