Synthetic polymers are found everywhere: nylon, polyester, Teflon, epoxy, and many others. They are composed of long and linear structures that easily tangle. Chemical engineers have for a long time been struggling to create a two-dimensional grid-like form of polymers but they have failed most of the times.
A trial of making such polymers came in the last decade in the name of covalent organic frameworks but the product was poor and the manufacturing process was hectic. A Northwestern University College is on the course of filling a century-long mystery by building the first successful COF has and control their development.
The researchers have a two-step development course that will lead to the production of natural polymers using crystalline, two-dimensional constructions. This will, in turn, allow chemical engineers to create new products that have amazing properties.
Low-quality COF’s have allowed for the enhanced use of polymers such as water purification, storing electrical energy and physique armor. Imagine what improved design polymers will be able to contribute to the world of synthetic polymers.
William Dichtel who is a professor of chemistry at North western’s Weinberg Faculty of Arts and Sciences has led the research.
The 2D COFs have long-lasting pores and excessive floors space as compared to the contemporary synthetic fibers. For the first time ever chemists have managed to design ordered 2D polymers that are arranged in repeating hexagonal shapes providing them utmost control over its properties.
With further research on the area still being done, scientists hope to create more structurally precise, layered macromolecular sheets that exhibit desirable mechanical, optoelectronic and molecular transport properties.
This unprecedented control of polymer grids is going to be crucial in developing more lasting and useful polymers that will go a long way in improving the way human beings use polymers.