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Bradford Polymers article most-read on Soft Matter


A paper by Chemistry researchers at the University of Bradford has been listed as most-read in the RSC publication Soft Matter.

The paper is all about smart polymers which are materials that respond to their environment by changing shape.

in the School of Chemistry and Forensic Sciences explains: "Poly(acrylic acid), a material commonly found in disposable diapers, pharmaceutical drugs and paints, is one of the best known smart polymers. It contains many acid groups that become negatively charged in neutral or alkaline water and the polymer swells to several time it’s original volume."

However researchers at the University of Bradford have shown that this swelling can be switched off by controlling the size of the polymer chain – that shorter, smaller molecules still have acidic responses to their environment but don’t change their size in solution. This unexplained behaviour could explain why low molecular weight polymers useful as dispersing agents or thickeners in cosmetic or paint formulations.

The full paper can be read on the RSC website.

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