Brad Carrow, an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton University, has received a five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Chemistry. The award supports “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” This prestigious award will support the Carrow Group’s efforts focused on sustainable polymer synthesis.
Abstract. The proposed research will study the synthesis of functional polyethylene (PE) materials directly from abundant platform chemicals using transition metal catalysis. The modification of PE, the most common of all polymers (187 billion pounds produced in 2014), to include hydrophilic domains within the otherwise hydrophobic molecular structure can give rise to distinct new material properties, such as enhanced biodegradability, that could extend the applications of this essential polymer class into new arenas. Catalytic methods are poised to accomplish these goals in a sustainable fashion because they occur with lower energy demand and better molecular structure control than vestige high temperature and pressure free radical routes that are currently practiced commercially.