May 20, 2019 | Updated: 02:28 PM EDT

Polymers Formation: New Approach To Imrpove Strength & Durability

Apr 30, 2017 10:57 PM EDT

New Material Created by Lab Accident Is Strong and Recyclable
(Photo : GeoBeats News / YouTube) Researchers from IBM have stumbled across a new super-strong polymer material that can still be recycled cleanly. Jeanette Garcia from IBM first discovered the new material by accident, when she forgot to add one ingredient to a chemical reaction, and created the first new class of industrial polymers in 20 years.

Polymers are unique in itself, structured up of many small molecules all strung together to form a really strong chain or structures which are very much complicated. Polymers depend on what kind of molecules are they formed of or put together. The properties of anything made up from polymers reflect what's going at an ultra-small molecular level.

According to Science Daily, things that are made up of polymers feel, look and act depending on their molecules and atoms which are connected. Few polymers are rubbery, few are bouncy, many are sticky, gooey, hard, tough etc. They are formed in a formation of long chain arranged in a cross-linked network.

Years ago few researchers from MIT for the first time measured certain types of defect called loops in the polymer formation. In this defect, the chine network binds to itself rather than to another chain. After years of research on this defect, now a simple way is found to reduce the number of loops in a polymer network and thus strengthening the materials which are made up of polymers. reported Jeremiah A, Firmenich Career Development Associate Professor of Chemistry at MIT and others carried out the research regarding the reduction of a number of loops in polymers formation. The research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A senior author of the paper with Jeremiah said that just by changing how fast one adds one component to the other, can improve the mechanical properties. The researchers also tried these techniques with different types of polymers network synthesis reactions which improved the strength of the materials.

This approach proved as to improve the strength and durability of any material which is made from gel or other crossed linked or interlinked polymers, including membranes for water purification, plastics, hydrogels for contact lens, adhesives made up of epoxy etc. Now researchers are thinking to apply this process in a variety of other materials including gels used to grow cells and tissues.

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