Supervisor: Dr Daniel Read
Phone: +44 (0)113 3435124
Polymers (plastics) are very large molecules formed by joining lots of
smaller ones together in a line - rather like molecular string. Sometimes
these molecules contain branches, giving them a tree-like structure. The aim
of the project is to try to deduce information about what sort of molecular
shapes polymers can take. Sometimes the molecules are "self-similar"
(or fractal) in nature, where each branch on the tree has the same average
properties as all the others. In these cases we can use quite simple methods
to tell us useful information about the polymer. There are a number of
different properties of the molecule that are of interest, for example: their
mass, the number of branches per molecule, their size. Harder to calculate,
but of practical use, are "scattering" and "flow"
properties. Depending on the interest and aptitude of the student, we shall
look at some, or possibly all, of these.
The starting point for the project will be an introduction to these
calculations in the case of linear (non-branched) polymers. The simplest
branching structures will then be addressed. We might work towards calculations
for polymers for a commercial reaction: "metallocene" polythene. No
previous chemical knowledge will be assumed.
Rubinstein, M.; Colby, R.H.: Polymer Physics Oxford Univ. Press,
De Gennes, P.G.: Scaling Concepts in Polymer Physics (Cornell Univ.
Press,1979) pgs 142-145
Flory, P.J: Principles of Polymer Chemistry Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 1953, Chapter IX