Polymers & Soft Materials

Polymers and Soft Materials

Polymer technology is multifarious, combining syntheses and polymerizations for new architectures with industrial control and design of polymer-based materials and processes. Even accustomed applications such as membranes designed for water filtration or fibrous structure of paper have complex non-uniform morphologies difficult to visualize or even quantify in 2D. Furthermore, adding functional capabilities such as in synthetic scaffolds for biomedical applications requires understanding of how structure is affected under hydrated environments. ZEISS X-ray microscopy (XRM) provides quantitative non-destructive 3D tomography for unique opportunities to study samples in their functioning (in situ) environments to quantify how microstructures such as porosity evolves in 3D and over time (4D) from the meso- down to the nanoscale. Data analysis of X-ray microscopy experiments reveal a wealth of microstructural information in three dimensions including pore connectivity, volume specific surface area and porosity – collected non-destructively.

Characterization and Analysis

  • Image non-destructively 3D structure of colloidal crystal templated material for improved CO2 capture
  • Use in situ compression chamber to study effects of chemical treatment and uniform/non-uniform compression pressure on microstructure of carbon paper gas diffusion layers in in PEFCs
  • Characterize hierarchical block copolymers for bioengineering providing larger field-of-view 3D data that complements higher spatial resolution structure information determined by TEM
  • Measure morphological and performance properties in polymeric silicone foams with in situ compression chamber
  • Explore spatial variations in scaffold structure, composition, and mechanical properties at orthopedic interfaces and quantify the mineral content
  • Evaluate non-destructively the location of ionic liquid within mechanically robust hollow fiber supported ionic liquid membranes for CO2 separation applications
  • Improve design of cellular materials by 3D structure characterization of effect of fiber type, length distribution, surfactant, and air content on the mechanical behavior and permeability of the foam material
  • Use 3D XRM characterization to perform permeability simulations using XRM dataset using in hydrogels for potential biomaterials
  • Visualize fibrous area, interface and carrier film in nanofiltration membranes
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colloidal crystals; porous polymers; templates; functionalization; CO2 capture; in situ; 4D studies;