Polymer science and technology in the past and the future: Heroism, exploration and enlightenment

Gilbert, R. G. (2000) Polymer science and technology in the past and the future: Heroism, exploration and enlightenment. Chinese Journal of Polymer Science, 18 3: 189-193.

Author Gilbert, R. G.
Title Polymer science and technology in the past and the future: Heroism, exploration and enlightenment
Journal name Chinese Journal of Polymer Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0256-7679
Publication date 2000-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 18
Issue 3
Start page 189
End page 193
Total pages 5
Place of publication Beijing, China
Publisher Zhongguo Huaxuehui
Language eng
Abstract The scientific and technical history of polymerization can be divided into three periods, which will be illustrated for emulsion polymerization. The first period was when emulsion polymers were originally produced, and was developed as an attempt to copy natural rubber latex. Indeed, the natural process is quite different from the synthetic process of emulsion polymerization, which in fact does not even need an emulsion to be present: the term is a misnomer! The results were functional but limited. In the second period, the first theories appeared, and a huge range of products was made for surface coatings, adhesives, commodity polymers such as SBR, neoprene, etc. The work of the outstanding pioneers was based on limited types of experimental data, and some suppositions are now seen to be incorrect. Nevertheless, many excellent products were made and have evolved to many materials currently in everyday use. The third period of emulsion polymerization is now dawning. The scientific efforts of many teams over previous decades, aided by the advent of new physical techniques for investigation, have resulted in better understanding of the fundamentals of emulsion polymerizations. Some examples from the author's group involve creating novel materials using controlled seeded emulsion polymerization from natural rubber latex and other polyenes. Latex topology and controlled free-radical chemistry can be combined to produce a) a comb polymer with hydrophobic backbone and hydrophilic "teeth", or b) with sufficient in situ compatibilizer between two otherwise incompatible polymers to yield a spatially uniform material down to the nanostructure level, and c) to produce controlled nanostructures.
Keyword Polymer rubber
Emulsion polymerization
Natural rubber
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences Publications
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Created: Tue, 08 Mar 2011, 01:44:00 EST