Blacksburg, Va., April 4, 2001 -- Virginia Tech researchers have determined that adding ionic compounds to polyesters, such as are commonly used in soft drink bottles (PET), makes it easier to process the material.
The research will be presented at the American Chemical Society's 221st national meeting in San Diego April 1-5.
Ions are atoms that carry a positive or negative charge as a result of having lost electrons. The researchers introduced the charged groups to the polymer chain and tested the resulting hybrid polymer/metallic material to see how the ionic group influences polyester performance. "Our efforts involve constructing molecules that are reversible with temperature or light," explains Virginia Tech chemistry professor Timothy Long. "Ionic groups will dissociate witih heat, for example, allowing easier processability and improved thermal stability. We often compare these reversible sites to 'molecular Velcro'."
The paper by Virginia Tech graduate student Huaiying Kang and Long, "Synthesis and characterization of telechelic sulfonate polyester ionomers (PMSE 506 )." will be presented at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 in the San Diego Marriott Point Loma room. The research is sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company.
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