Dr Kei Toyota | A New Way to Create Conductive Polymers for Technological Applications
About this episode
Polymers, made from incredibly long chains of smaller molecules, make up many materials used in the modern world. From simple plastics to medical devices and solar cells, polymers represent a diverse and exciting area of science. The majority of polymers are made from carbon-based molecules. Perhaps even more fascinating are hybrid polymers, which are composed of both carbon-based and metal-based components. Hybrid polymers have unique properties, such as conductivity, making them especially desirable for new technologies. Dr Kei Toyota at the Panasonic Corporation in Osaka, Japan, has been investigating new ways to develop hybrid polymers. Read More
He decided to focus on a compound called GMDM. This molecule has a ring of atoms at one end. Under the right conditions, the ring can be broken apart, and each end will attach to another molecule. In this polymerization reaction, the molecules come together to form long polymer chains.
Dr Toyota wished to explore how this process could be used to create hybrid polymers. Particles of hybrid polymers could then be further processed into materials using the sol-gel method. The sol-gel method is a chemical reaction that uses a solution of polymer particles, to form a variety of different materials, including gels, films and fibres.
Dr Toyota tested his polymerization reaction and sol-gel method using many different formulations. He found that in its simplest form, the polymerization reaction could be achieved with only two components: GMDM and lithium perchlorate, which provided a source of lithium ions. Experimenting with mixtures of these components, under various conditions, allowed Dr Toyota to create a series of flexible films.
He then tested his new materials for their ionic conductivity. As the temperature increased, he found that the materials’ conductivity also increased. Dr Toyota explains that heat allows ions in the material to move around more freely.
He was also able to determine the mechanisms behind the polymerization reaction and sol-gel method. This knowledge will allow the process to be scaled up for manufacturing purposes in the future.
Dr Toyota’s research offers a simple approach for producing fascinating hybrid polymers with conductive properties. This work paves the way for the application of these hybrid polymers in various technological applications.
Original Article Reference
Summary of the paper ‘Products and kinetics of the cationic ring-opening polymerization of 3-glycidoxypropylmethyldimethoxysilane by lithium perchlorate’ in Polymer doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2021.123490
For further information, you can connect with Dr Kei Toyota at email@example.com
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