Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
The coupling of mechanics and chemistry is an emerging field leading to innovative material design. This talk will cover two projects within my group, one towards utilizing mechanochemistry in polymers, the other towards tailoring bulk polymers formed from assemblies of single chain polymer nanoparticles (SCPN). Topic 1: Non-covalent and dynamic covalent bonds are an impactful means for controlling polymer functionality. These mechanically weak bonds can be used to control not only mechanical properties like stiffness and strength, but also chemical properties like biomolecule attachment and surface energy. We use a combination of computational, theoretical, synthetic, and experimental approaches to investigate how these bond level energetics and kinetics translate to macroscale polymer properties. Topic 2: SCPN are formed from intra-chain cross-linking of a single polymer chain. These units have potential as the building blocks of polymers where the properties are controlled by the highly tailorable SCPN structure rather than just by the material chemistry. We utilize both molecular dynamics simulations and experiments to investigate the mechanical behavior of a SCPN assemblies as a function of degree of polymerization and cross-linking.