Polymer Science



Combinational techniques, parallel experimentation and high-throughput methods represent a very promising approach in order to speed up the preparation and investigation of new polymeric materials: a large variety of parameters can be screened simultaneously resulting in new structure/property relationships. The field of polymer research seems to be perfectly suited for parallel and combinatorial methods due to the fact that many parameters can be varied during synthesis, processing, blending as well as compounding. In addition, numerous important parameters have to be investigated, such as molecular weight, polydispersity, viscosity, hardness, stiffness and other application specific properties. A number of corresponding high throughput techniques have been developed in the last few years and their introduction into the commercial market further boosted the development. These combinatorial approaches can reduce the time to market for new polymeric materials drastically compared to traditional approaches and allow a much more detailed understanding of polymers from the macroscopic to the nanoscopic scale. Here we provide an overview of the present status of combinatorial and parallel polymer synthesis and high throughput screening.
Ciamician (1857-1922) tested hundreds of samples in parallel on the roof of his laboratory at the University of Bologna. (Photo courtesy of the University of Bologna).
Appearance of the reaction vessels of polymerization of 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline at varying temperatures. The colorless vessels were polymerized at low temperatures and the orange vessels were polymerized at high temperatures.




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