Reversible Interpenetrating Polymer Network
Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a novel and highly modular reversible interpenetrating polymer network (IPN). When specific compounds are mixed in water, hydrogen bonds form a 3D network between the polymers that results in a viscoelastic fluid.
The fluid can be molded to any desired shape, and subsequent drying of water causes the collapse of the crosslinking network to form an amorphous and transparent solid resin. This resin is self-healing in that addition of water reforms crosslinks in the IPN. The material is modular depending on the vitrification process and polymer composition. The pressure and temperature at which water is removed alters the properties of the solid resin by changing its final morphology.
Products produced include thin films, foams of various porosity (cm-nm), powders, flowable inks, and gels, all of which allow for a variety of downstream applications. Variations in polymer length and shape change the viscoelastic behavior of the material, which can be fine-tuned for any desired application.
Alterations in composition grant the material useful properties, such as electrical conductivity, fluorescence, and magnetism, depending on the application desired.
- Few other reversible IPNs or resins are known to exist (all of which require extraneous variables; e.g. acidic conditions, UV-light, etc.)
- Can exist in a variety of morphologies
- Allows for a large variety of applications
- Agriculture: seed coatings, seed tape, water-soluble packaging
- Electronics: batteries, fluorescent lamps, circuitry
- Pharmaceutical: tablet binder, gel capsule coatings, controlled release matrix systems, bioadhesives
- Misc: adhesives / cements, magnetic paint, protective coatings
Wong, O.A., et al. (2014). Combinatorial Discovery of Cosolvent Systems for Production of Narrow Dispersion Thiolate-Protected Gold Nanoparticles. ACS Combinatorial Science. 17(1), 11–18. DOI: 10.1021/co500072c
Wong, O. A., e al. (2013). Structure-activity relationships for biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and excretion of atomically precise nanoclusters in a murine model. Nanoscale. 5(21), 10525-10533. https://doi.org/10.1039/C3NR03121G.
Last updated: September 2021