Polymer Physics of Advanced Multiphasic Polymers


75% of all commercially available polymers are semi-crystalline. Therefore, understanding the effect of crystallinity on thermal, mechanical, optical, barrier, and biodegradation is of utmost importance. Our research encompasses basic academic subjects and also applied investigations.

The fundamental nucleation process is studied through advanced calorimetric techniques encompassing seven orders of magnitude in cooling and heating rates. The process of self-nucleation in homopolymers, copolymers, and blends is applied to study the fundamentals of crystalline memory. New multiphasic materials are studied by designing them in conjunction with polymer chemists able to synthesize them. In this way, multi-crystalline block copolymers are being studied. Isodimorphic random copolymers are fascinating materials we synthesize to tune their thermal properties and crystallization ability by changing composition and molecular weight. A particular effort is being made in designing and studying biobased, biodegradable, photodegradable, or biocompatible polymeric materials, including many polyesters, polyhydroxyalkanoates, polycarbonates, polyethers, and their blends or copolymers. Other studies include the effect of confinement in polymer crystallization and understanding successive self-nucleation and annealing thermal fractionation (SSA). The effect of nanofillers (CNTs, nanocelullose, graphene, nanosilica) on polymer crystallization and in the properties of polymer blend nanocomposites (PBNANOs) is also intensively studied. Semi-crystalline conducting polymers, piezo-electric polymers, and polymer solid electrolytes are also being studied for special applications. Mechanical recycling of polyolefin blends and PET-based blends is also pursued, aiming to produce materials with improved properties through compatibilization (upcycling).

Coordinator: Alejandro J. Müller