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DYNamics of Architecturally COmplex Polymers

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Polymer behaviours written in the stars

Polymers are virtually ubiquitous, appearing in products from electronics to patio furniture. With improved understanding of the effect of structure on dynamic behaviour, scientists can now rationally design complex architectures.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Commonly called plastics, polymers are macromolecular compounds. Improving the properties of plastics is largely dependent on enhanced understanding of the rheological behaviours of complex macromolecular fluids during processing.A large European consortium launched the EU-funded project 'Dynamics of architecturally complex polymers' (DYNACOP) to extend the current modelling framework to branched species and unlock the industrial potential of current molecular design tools. In addition, with multidisciplinary training of early-stage and experienced researchers, the project sought to strengthen the EU position in polymer technology.Three main topics were the focus of research and fruitful collaboration. These consisted of synthetic chemistry, experimental methods and theory/simulation. Partners synthesised numerous polymeric architectures, including various star formations. Careful characterisation of rheological properties will facilitate their processing as the building blocks of new products with novel properties. Novel experimental methods were used to characterise the behaviours of the supramolecular polymers and relate structure to processing parameters and to function. Atomistic and tube-based models of the polymers enabled predictions of behaviours and provided insight to previously unanswered questions.Scientific exchange was particularly intense, including participation of researchers in training courses, summer schools and workshops. In addition, researchers participated in an international scientific workshop organised through the project as well as two industrial workshops hosted by partners. A final networking conference hosted presentations by the early-stage researchers, demonstrating not only their scientific achievements but, equally important, their speaking and communication skills.DYNACOP delivered an intelligent engineering platform for rational design of supramolecular polymers based on structure, rheological properties and function. Simultaneously, it has trained a new generation of students for careers in academic and industrial polymer science that will ensure a leading position for the EU in a strategic market sector.

Keywords

Polymer, macromolecular, supramolecular, design tool, rheological properties, engineering platform

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