Fundamental and Applied Research

Fundamental research, new mathematical and analytical approaches and the implementation of this knowledge to applied research

Goals: Understanding the fundamental processes occurring at the microscopic scale in macromolecular systems and correlations with macroscopic behavior, in order to enable control over the material properties.


Focus: The development and application of new methods with highly focused but broadly applicable, interdisciplinary capabilities to be used by scientists working in both fundamental and applied fields. These allow, by conception, design, execution and analysis of complex macromolecular and colloid experiments, advances in polymer physics, characterization of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems, synthesis of materials with optimized properties, predictive control of kinetics for targeted material properties


Fundamental and applied research involving equilibrium/ quasi-equilibrium and non-equilibrium processes using both traditional and PolyRMC developed methodologies 

  Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring of Polymerization (ACOMP)

Simultaneous Multiple Sample Light Scattering (SMSLS)

Heterogeneous Time Dependent Light Scattering (HTDSLS)

Multi-detector Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC)

Automatic Continuous Mixing (ACM)

Fundamental studies of polymerization kinetics and mechanisms:

       Free radical homo- and copolymerization

       Step growth

       Controlled radical (co)polymerization (ATRP, NMP, RAFT) and other living types (ROMP)

       Batch, semi-batch, continuous, pressurized reactors

       Solvent, bulk (viscosity up to 106cP)

       Heterogeneous phase polymerization; free and controlled radical routes

       Grafting and cross-linking reactions, multiblock syntheses

       Predictive and feedback control of reactions

       Monitoring the evolution of stimuli responsiveness in tailored polymers

       Post-polymer modifications; e.g. hydrolysis, quaternization


Automated, online, multi-detector methods provide massive data streams yielding rich, comprehensive characterization of equilibrium properties and non-equilibrium processes in polymer solutions for both fundamental and applied goals

Important characteristics of polymer products:

         Molecular weight distributions and averages

        Dimensions, static and hydrodynamic

        Intrinsic viscosity

        Branching/ cross-linking

        Aggregated/microgel fraction of polymer

        Charged polymer linear charge density

        Copolymer composition

        Stimuli responsiveness of polymers

Important processes during polymerization reactions


        Conversion of monomers

        Evolution of molecular weight distribution

        Evolution of intrinsic viscosity

        Charged polymers

        Composition drift and distribution

        Unexpected problems; premature reaction termination, microgelation, exotherms

        Heterogeneous phase changes; e.g. partitioning

        Onset and evolution of stimuli responsiveness of polymers

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764