Archive for March, 2012

Hair and polymers click

In the search for new haircare products, scientists in the UK have developed a new method to chemically modify hair with polymers.

Diagram of polymer grafted to hair

The polymer can be covalently grafted to the surface of hair under mild conditions

Polymers are present within many haircare products and are used to modify the appearance of hair, for example to make it straighter or to change its colour. These polymers modify the surface of the hair and as they are used in a personal and uncontrolled setting, mild and efficient chemistry is required. Typically, there is a non-covalent interaction between the polymer and hair; however, scientists are now looking at methods to form a covalent bond between the polymer and hair in the hope of enhancing the polymer’s effects.

David Haddleton and coworkers at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with Unilever, have demonstrated for the first time the ability to covalently bond polymers synthesised by cobalt catalysed chain transfer polymerisation (CCTP) to hair.

CCTP is a method to synthesise macromonomers that have a reactive unsaturated vinyl end-group, which can react with thiol groups found on the surface of hair using thiol-ene click chemistry under mild conditions. In addition, the team also showed that a fluorescent tag could be attached to the polymer, demonstrating the further modification of the polymer. ‘The use of low-cost controlled polymerisation methods to give efficient and specific surface modification onto surfaces is highly exciting,’ says Ezat Khoshdel from Unilever.

Now that it is known that polymers can be covalently bound to hair, the team is ‘interested in what type of properties we can change, and what are essentially the limitations of what we are doing,’ says Haddleton.

Greg Qiao, an expert in polymer chemistry at the University of Melbourne, Australia, says that ‘the work provides a general method for modification of a biological surface and has the potential to produce new healthcare products for human hair’.

Biological surface modification by ‘thiol-ene’ addition of polymers synthesised by catalytic chain transfer polymerisation (CCTP)
Stacy Slavin, Ezat Khoshdel and David M. Haddleton
DOI: 10.1039/C2PY20040F

Read the original Chemistry World article here

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Video Interview: Neil Cameron discusses bioactive polymers

Neil Cameron talks to Russell Johnson about his research on bioactive polymers and what he thinks are the hot topics in polymer chemistry.  

Neil Cameron talks to Polymer Chemistry

Watch the video interview on YouTube here:

Here is a selection of Professor Cameron’s recent research published in Polymer Chemistry.

Paper: The binding of polyvalent galactosides to the lectin Ricinus communis agglutinin 120 (RCA120): an ITC and SPR study
Sebastian G. Spain and Neil R. Cameron
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1552-1560.

Communication: Preparation of emulsion-templated porous polymers using thiol–ene and thiol–yne chemistry
Elaine Lovelady, Scott D. Kimmins, Junjie Wu and Neil R. Cameron
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 559-562.

Review: A spoonful of sugar: the application of glycopolymers in therapeutics
Sebastian G. Spain and Neil R. Cameron
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 60-68.

 

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week – Henri Cramail

Henri Cramail received his engineering degree from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie et de Physique de Bordeaux in 1987. He obtained his PhD from the LCPO, University of Bordeaux 1, in 1990 for studies in the field of ring-opening metathesis polymerization under the supervision of Profs Alain Soum and Michel Fontanille. After a post-doctoral stay with Prof. W.J. Feast at the University of Durham, U.K., he became an Assistant Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Bordeaux 1 and, since 1999, he has been appointed Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the same University. In 2004, he was awarded the position of Junior Member of the ‘Institut Universitaire de France’. Since 2007, he is the Director of the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO). His research interests concern (i) the coordination polymerization of olefins with a specific focus on single-site catalyst organic supports, (ii) step-growth polymerizations in dispersed media (organic phase, water, super critical CO2) to design core-shell particles with specific properties and, more intensively today, (iii) the development of new bio-based polymers from renewable resources (vegetable oils, terpenes) through green pathways (catalysis and processes).

Please follow the link for further information on Henri’s laboratory and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

The real motivation to be a chemist is probably the strong will to discover and to ‘create’ something new that can have an impact in our daily life! But shall I (we) succeed?

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper? (DOI: 10.1039/c2py00588c)

It is well-known that metallocene catalysts used for olefin polymerization have to be fixed onto a support to be used in industry. However, some single site catalysts may be deactivated or loose their stereoselectivity when supported on classical inorganic carriers (MgCl2, silica) and, in addition, traces of these inorganic supports may remain in the polyolefin material thus affecting its properties. Making more versatile organic supports composed of self-assemblies of either functional polymers or block-copolymers can thus be a solution to overcome these two issues. Moreover, the methodology we have developed in this manuscript is very simple and quite efficient to prepare polyolefin beads, under mild conditions.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

This is a relatively new journal that attracted me because of the quality of the work published and also because having a new journal mostly devoted to the Chemistry of polymers is, from my point of view, very important for our scientific community.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I will attend the 103rd AOCS meeting in California (Long Beach, CA) on 01-04 may 2012 and the 44th IUPAC world Polymer Congress in Virginia on 24-29 june 2012.

How do you spend your spare time?

I practise sports as much as I can (running, playing ‘pelote basque’) and I also try to manage a family wine business (Bordeaux Wine of course!)…

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Probably a (true) wine-maker (chemistry again!)

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Conference: Europolymer Conference 2012 (EUPOC 2012), 3rd – 7th June

Polymer Chemistry has organised a poster prize at EUPOC 2012. Organised by The European Polymer Federation the conference will be held near Lake Garda at the Palazzo Feltrinelli, Gargnano, Italy. The topic of the 2012 conference is: “Porous Polymer-based Systems: From Design to Application”

The organisers hope the conference will bring together the various disparate communities that work on porous polymers. These communities include those working on the development of materials for membranes, catalysis, absorption, microelectronics, drug delivery, tissue engineering, and lightweight materials. The conference will present topics with similar underlying themes that originate in a variety of research areas with very different perspectives.

The Invited Speakers include:
Markus Antonietti
, MPI-KG Golm (Germany); Alexander Bismarck, Imperial College (UK); Neil R. Cameron, University of Durham (UK); Andrew I. Cooper, University of Liverpool (UK); Herve Deleuze, Université Bordeaux I (France); Gaetano Guerra, Università di Salerno (Italy); Neil McKeown, Cardiff University (UK); Philippe Mesini, CNRS (France); Manuel Monleón Pradas, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain); Julio San Román, CSIC (Spain); Edwin L. Thomas, Rice University (USA); Mathias Ulbricht, Universität Essen (Germany); Ulrich Wiesner, Cornell University (USA).

For more information about the meeting, please see the web site: http://www.dcci.unipi.it/eupoc2012/ 

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Poster Prize winner at Dutch Polymer Days

Congratulations to Dr Yulan Chen (Eindhoven University of Technology) for winning the Polymer Chemistry poster prize at the recent Dutch Polymer Days conference in Lunteren, The Netherlands.

Dr Yulan Chen’s winning poster was on “Mechanically induced chemiluminescence  in polymers”.

 

 

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week – Stefan Bon

Stefan A. F. Bon studied chemical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe), the Netherlands (cum laude, 1989-1993). He obtained his PhD in 1998 in the area of nitroxide-mediated living radical polymerization from the TUe.  He has a background in the mechanistic and kinetic development of (living) radical polymerizations (1993-2005).  A postdoctoral fellowship (1998-2001) brought him to Warwick University in the UK, where he worked under the direction of Prof. David M. Haddleton. In 2001 he became a Unilever lecturer at Warwick University, and in 2006 he was promoted to Associate Professor. His current research interests are in the area of supracolloidal chemistry, focusing on the synthesis of complex colloids, their physical behavior in soft matter systems, and the fabrication of colloid-based advanced materials. He is on the board of the UK Polymer Colloids Forum, and is currently the vice-chair of the International Polymer Colloids Group.

Please follow the link for further information on the Bon Lab and his recent paper published in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemical engineer?
Since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by technology. In the mid 1980s my initial plan was to study computer science. After visiting some universities, however, I came to conclusion this topic was a bit too dry for me. Chemical Engineering struck me as the ideal study path, as it allowed me not only to learn about Chemistry and the art of making molecules but to combine it with aspects of physics and engineering in order to turn these molecules into functional materials, hopefully of use to advance society. The most exciting part is to have an open mind about science, in a way of modifying the principle of “thinking outside the box”, into “there is no box”. This approach we have in my Lab.

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper?
The motivation was to take microfluidics as a method to fabricate polymer microcapsules through generation of double-emulsion droplets back to one of its simplest forms. In other words, to demonstrate the power of controlled droplet generation, using a very simple do-it-yourself device. The paper was a bit of fun with glass capillaries, plastic tubing and superglue, and actually has already been taken up into our undergraduate teaching program to introduce young scientists its versatility as a fabrication tool in chemistry.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?
It is an exciting and relatively new journal that contains great and innovative research related to all aspects of polymer chemistry. It already has become a top journal in the polymer scientific community, which means as a researcher you really cannot resist sending in manuscripts, which contain original and exciting work.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?
I will be going to the Polymers in Dispersed Media (PDM2012) conference to be held in Lyon (France) this April, the High Polymer Research Group (HPRG) end April/May, the 2012 meeting of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS) in Sendai (Japan), and of course the Warwick2012 international conference on polymer chemistry hosted by the MacrogroupUK and the UKPCF in July.

How do you spend your spare time?
I enjoy swimming, play the acoustic guitar and try to sing along to it, enjoy cooking, and really like to travel to new exciting places all over the world and experience local cultures.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
I probably would end up being some management guru trying to achieve a little bit less of the grey office attitude.

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week – Ben Zhong Tang

Ben Zhong Tang received his B.S. degree from South China University of Technology and Ph.D. degree from Kyoto University. He conducted postdoctoral research at University of Toronto and worked as a senior scientist in the central laboratory of NEOS Corp. He joined the Department of Chemistry at The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to chair professor in 2008. He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. He received a Natural Science Award from the Chinese Government and a Senior Research Fellowship Award from the Croucher Foundation in 2007. He is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of RSC Polymer Chemistry Series, Editor of Polymer Bulletin, and News Contributor to Noteworthy Chemistry, an ACS electronic newsweekly.

Please follow the link for further information on Ben’s laboratory and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

Many people become chemists because they love chemistry. This is not true in my case. I become a chemist because I was assigned to study chemistry. I was sort of an all-round pupil, good in almost every subject I had to learn at school, except for sports. When I took the entry examination for college study, I was chosen by a university and assigned to a major I did not apply for. Many people do things for which they have passion, but my approach is different: I cultivate my interest in the things I must do. This was largely true before I became an independent researcher as a faculty in Hong Kong. My motto is “enjoy doing the things I need to do”. This quality has enabled me to have a joyful career and quality life. I am proud of eventually becoming a chemist. I am happy to “play” with molecules everyday now that may lead to the creation of new knowledge, new materials, new technology…

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper? (DOI: 10.1039/c2py00586g)

My research group has been interested in developing new polymerization reactions using alkyne monomers as building blocks. It has been a natural extension for us to study “click” polymerization. When Dr. Anjun Qin was working in my lab in Hong Kong as a postdoctoral associate, he successfully utilized click reaction to synthesize poly(triazole)s. The click polymerization, however, has to use metallic catalysts, which causes such problems as poor solubility of the polymers due to the complexation of the catalytic species with the triazole moieties in the reaction products and the difficulty in completely removing the catalyst residues that are adversely affect the physical, especially optical, properties of the polymers. Dr. Qin is now a faculty at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, helping me run my research lab at the university. We worked with our students in Hangzhou and Hong Kong with a motivation to develop metal-free click polymerization. The work is exciting because we can now prepare functional poly(triazole)s with high regioregularity (F1,4 up to ~95%) in high yields (up to 100%) by simple heating in the absence of a metallic catalyst.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

I am serving as a science news contributor to Noteworthy Chemistry, an ACS electronic newsweekly. I constantly read research papers published in many journals. Although Polymer Chemistry is a new journal, the papers it has published have attracted my attention because of their high quality. I have thus decided to send our work to Polymer Chemistry for publication. The review and publication have been fast. It has been a pleasant experience to communicate with the Editors.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I will attend the 44th IUPAC World Polymer Congress in Virginia on 24–29 June 2012 and the 244th ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia on 19–23 August 2012.

How do you spend your spare time?

Do aerobics, play tennis, sing songs, or listen to music.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

I liked literature and arts when I was young. I might choose poet, novelist, painter or singer as my profession if I had choice.

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