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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S96258/01
Title: Target Morphologies in Polymer Blends
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 November 2004 Ends: 31 October 2007 Value (£): 162,290
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Chemicals
Food and Drink Manufacturing
Related Grants:
GR/S96265/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Exploiting nature's ability to turn raw ingredients into remarkable materials has long been a goal of fundamental and applied science. One active area of research involves polymer mixtures that phase separate to form elegant structures with microscopic dimensions. The resultant materials, which often have properties substantially greater than the sum of the parts, have found applications as adhesives, coatings and even lightweight aircraft components. A drawback of phase separation in polymer blends is that a lack of control over the final structure limits our ability to tune the properties.To overcome this limitation, a method has been proposed by one of the principle investigators in which micron, or sub-micron, sized polymer particles are dissolved in a matrix of a chemically different polymer. If the temperature is altered before complete dissolution such that the two types of polymer no longer want to mix, the laws of nature then ensure that, as a consequence of the mechanisms of phase separation, unusual and perhaps even technologically useful materials emerge.The concept has already been illustrated theoretically to show how core-shell particles can be produced via this thermodynamic route. In this project we will combine theoretical and experimental expertise to prove the principle of this novel approach to controlled morphologies in polymer blends and to establish the conditions required to achieve targeted morphologies in a range of systems.
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