Ramanan Krishnamoorti, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, co-authored a paper on tuning polymer interpenetration that published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society last month.
Researchers tailor properties of polymer nanocomposites for biomedical, pharmaceutical and automotive applications, among numerous other industry uses.
According to a University of Delaware article, they typically employ either wetting or dewetting for either dispersion or aggregation of nanoparticles, respectively, which they believed were synonymous and mutually exclusive processes. Depending on desired properties necessary for particular objectives, both transitions were useful.
Krishnamoorti and his collaborators found a sharp change from dispersion to aggregation of nanoparticles that did not correlate with the gradual change they found from wetting to dewetting, refuting an established scientific theory. Their discovery provides a finer tuning knob to tailor nanoparticles in polymore-nanoparticle composites for specific applications.
Tyler Marin, a graduate student working with engineering professor Arthi Jayaraman at the University of Delaware, was lead author on the paper. Other collaborators included researchers from the University of Colorado, the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research.
For a more comprehensive explanation of their findings, read the article composed by Diane Kukich at the University of Delaware.