Appendix A

Current and Promising Polymer Research Topics

The following summary list of current and promising polymer research topics is necessarily quite brief. The field is large and will continue to have a great impact on all levels of society for the foreseeable future.

  • Growing use of polymers as biomaterials

    • Seasickness patches

    • Prostheses—hip cups, lenses, blood vessels, orthopedic implants, denture bases, fillings, sutures, heart valves, organs, vascular grafts, hernia mesh, catheters, syringes, diapers, blood bags, artificial limbs, ligaments, packaging

    • Controlled release

    • Diagnostics

  • Emerging electronic properties of polymers

    • Dielectrics

    • Synthetic metals and battery materials

    • Sensors

    • Lithographic resists

    • Photonic materials

    • Light-emitting diodes and displays

    • Electrophotography

    • Holography

    • Fuel cells

    • Solar cells

  • Emergence of synthetic means for control of polymer structures

    • Coordination catalysts

    • Biocatalysis, enzyme synthesis, biological organisms for synthesizing monomers and polymers

    • Ring-opening metathesis polymerization

    • Hybrid organic-inorganic materials synthesis, sol gel formation

    • Dendritic polymers

    • Composites with tailored transport, electrical, or optical properties

  • Growing use of blends and composites to obtain “tailored” properties

    • High-strength, high-modulus fibers

    • Enhanced matrix choices

    • “Tailored” mechanical properties

    • High-stability toughening additives

    • High-temperature options

    • Understanding of failure mechanisms

  • Enhanced characterization capability through computer and electronic advances

    • Molecular: colligative, light scattering, centrifuged separation, NMR, UV, FTIR, RAMAN

    • Solutions, melts: rheology, diffusion, neutron scattering

    • Solid state: synchrotron x-ray and electron spectroscopy, TEM, soft x-ray microscopy, mechanical testing

    • Surface analysis: XPS, depth profiling, SIMS, SFA, AMF, LFM

    • Folding: NMR

    • New microscopies: confocal and scanning tunneling

  • Evolution of polymer theory with emphasis on computer modeling and simulation

    • States of matter: solutions, crystalline, amorphous, LCs, blends, block polymers, copolymers, interfaces, surfaces



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Polymers Appendix A Current and Promising Polymer Research Topics The following summary list of current and promising polymer research topics is necessarily quite brief. The field is large and will continue to have a great impact on all levels of society for the foreseeable future. Growing use of polymers as biomaterials Seasickness patches Prostheses—hip cups, lenses, blood vessels, orthopedic implants, denture bases, fillings, sutures, heart valves, organs, vascular grafts, hernia mesh, catheters, syringes, diapers, blood bags, artificial limbs, ligaments, packaging Controlled release Diagnostics Emerging electronic properties of polymers Dielectrics Synthetic metals and battery materials Sensors Lithographic resists Photonic materials Light-emitting diodes and displays Electrophotography Holography Fuel cells Solar cells Emergence of synthetic means for control of polymer structures Coordination catalysts Biocatalysis, enzyme synthesis, biological organisms for synthesizing monomers and polymers Ring-opening metathesis polymerization Hybrid organic-inorganic materials synthesis, sol gel formation Dendritic polymers Composites with tailored transport, electrical, or optical properties Growing use of blends and composites to obtain “tailored” properties High-strength, high-modulus fibers Enhanced matrix choices “Tailored” mechanical properties High-stability toughening additives High-temperature options Understanding of failure mechanisms Enhanced characterization capability through computer and electronic advances Molecular: colligative, light scattering, centrifuged separation, NMR, UV, FTIR, RAMAN Solutions, melts: rheology, diffusion, neutron scattering Solid state: synchrotron x-ray and electron spectroscopy, TEM, soft x-ray microscopy, mechanical testing Surface analysis: XPS, depth profiling, SIMS, SFA, AMF, LFM Folding: NMR New microscopies: confocal and scanning tunneling Evolution of polymer theory with emphasis on computer modeling and simulation States of matter: solutions, crystalline, amorphous, LCs, blends, block polymers, copolymers, interfaces, surfaces

OCR for page 13
Polymers Dynamic properties: rheology, mechanical properties, electroactive Methods: force field simulations, coarse-grained simulations Continuing reduction of environmental threats Elimination of toxic components Replacement of plastics by natural materials Recycling Continuing search for viable recycling strategies Collection problems: separation, contamination Blending: properties of mixtures Processing: to return to monomer or other feedstock type Other means of disposal: incineration, landfill Enhanced process control through computer and sensor applications Molding Extrusion Film blowing Coating Continuing substitution of polymers for metals and other materials Aircraft, space vehicles Automobiles Clothing Machined parts Construction Electronics Marine structures and vehicles Growing use of polymeric materials for wide variety of military items Bullet-proof clothing Uniforms Aircraft weight reduction Growing understanding of structure-property relationships Finite-element analysis Flow modeling, rheology Simulation of structures of composites, blends, crystalline polymers