The Thing About Polymers….

The thing about polymers is that they can be very hard to make well.  I won’t bore you with the whole statistical analysis (though you can take Polymer II if you’d like to know) but polymer synthesis doesn’t operate quite like other chemical reactions.  In most reactions, if the amount of each reactant you add is a little bit off, then your yield goes down a bit.  When making polymers from two different compounds, if your mixture isn’t exactly 1:1, your polymer will be brittle and possibly unusable.  That means that you have to know exactly how pure each component is, which can be pretty tough when you are synthesizing them yourself.  That’s not to mention that the way you heat the polymer to cure it can also degrade it if you’re not careful.  So it’s a continuing struggle to get some good polymers.  New monomer synthesis is proceeding (hopefully) and we may have a new intermediate to use.  I will be presenting my work so far at SERMACS in Raleigh, NC later this month, so let me know if you will be there.  I will report on how it goes.