Macromolecular and interfacial engineering
Efficient, function-specific polymers and colloids of the future
Polymers are far more than just plastic bags. They are large molecules capable of carrying versatile and “intelligent” functions for high-tech applications in electronic, energy and medicine. Colloids include multi-phase systems such as, creams, shampoos and many foods. High surface areas allow fast and efficient chemical reactions and colloids can have intriguing flow behavior.
Researchers at the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering are looking at polymers and colloids in truly unique ways – aimimg to develop new methods to achieve high levels of control over desired properties. This includes techniques of controlled/living radical polymerisation, click chemistry and self-assembly methods to make these new materials capable of achieving new tasks.
Schematic illustration of modification of graphene with polymer brushes
One group is investigating the formation of new hybrid nanomaterials that have the properties of graphene, the strongest highly conductive material discovered to date. They are confident this could lead to great advances in electronic devices with things like flexible displays and solar cells.