Lucie Imbernon receiving her Best Oral presentation prize at Groupe Français des Polymeres (GFP) 2014. The young PhD student winner was delighted with her gift certificate and will enjoy reading Polymer Chemistry thanks to the year’s subscription provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Lucie’s presentation was based on her PhD research and titled “Immiscible Blends of Epoxidized Natural Rubber: a Way to achieve Semi-Interpenetrating Networks.” She is part of the Soft Matter and Chemistry group at the ESPCI Paris-Tech-CNRS, PSL Research University in Paris. An overview of Lucie’s work is outlined in the abstract below:
“Directly obtained by epoxidation of Natural Rubber (NR), Epoxidized Natural Rubber (ENR) is a unique elastomer widely used in the industry. ENR retains most of the properties of natural rubber, in particular high tensile properties and resistance to crack propagation up to 50 mol% epoxidation. While keeping the advantages of NR, ENR presents a new reactive functionality. Our group recently showed the possibility to crosslink this elastomer by reaction with a dicarboxylic acid (DA). The DA molecules react with the epoxy groups, producing β hydroxy-esters along the chain.
Here, we show that different grades of ENR are immiscible and that the polar crosslinker DA is more soluble when the level of epoxidation increases. Because the curing rate is faster with more epoxidized grades of ENR, we selectively crosslinked blends of immiscible ENRs presenting different levels of epoxidation (ENR10 and ENR50).The morphology of the resulting material can be tuned from nodules of crosslinked ENR50 dispersed in a soft ENR10 matrix to a semi-interpenetrating continuous network giving rise to elastomeric properties (see figure below).”
Lucie’s work led to the publication of “Crosslinking of epoxidized natural rubber by dicarboxylic acids: An alternative to standard vulcanization” and “Semi-interpenetrating Networks in Blends of Epoxidized Natural Rubbers” last year in Macromolecular Symposia and Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics respectively.
GFP 2014 took place on 3rd – 6th November 2014 in Saint Malo and was the 43rd National Conference organised by the Groupe Français d’études etd’applications des Polymères. It’s aim was to bring together around 200 researchers from different backgrounds, countries, universities, public research institutions and industries to discuss the latest advances in the field of polymers.
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