(6bl) Design of Multifunctional Polymer-Polymer Nanocomposites

Rahmathullah, A. M., Drexel University
Palmese, G. R., Drexel University

Functional materials, such as hydrogels and ionomers, are finding wide ranging applications such as in chemical valves, drug delivery systems, self healing materials, proton exchange membranes and artificial muscles. A setback with these materials is their weak mechanical properties, and while most of these functional materials are hydrophilic in nature, structurally stable materials are most often hydrophobic. This apparent mismatch in structural properties is interesting for the fact that it may be possible to bring into intimate contact materials that are thermodynamically dissimilar while retaining the properties that make them intriguing. An approach to carry this out is the stabilization of these functional moieties within a hydrophobic network, resulting in the formation of stable, functional composites. My work will discuss how this strategy of combining such hydrophobic (non-ionic) and hydrophilic (ionic) polymers can range in a wide variety of useful applications. The goals have been on developing such polymer-polymer nanocomposites for applications in proton exchance membranes, self-healing materials and permselective barrier membranes. Results have shown that it is possible to develop strategies to rationally design novel structures based on composites of hydrophobic and hydrophilic polymers and these will be presented during the session as well as discussions on thoughts for future research.