Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Using organic chemistry to understand polymer networks
All polymer networks have cyclic molecular topologies that critically impact material properties. Nevertheless, these cyclic topologies have historically been difficult to quantify and control. Informed by classical crossover experiments, we have developed experimental methods for the precise counting of cyclic topologies (loops) of various order in polymer networks. These studies have enabled new theoretical advances pertaining to elasticity and the gel point, and have inspired new designs for stimuli-responsive materials.