UCLA graduate researcher to discuss self-healing polymers

Published: Jan 22, 2009 4:11:00 PM
Media Contact: Sally Credille, src0007@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

Erin Murphy, a UCLA doctoral student working with professor Fred Wudl at the University of California-Santa Barbara, will present "The Synthesis and Characterization of a Single Component Thermally Remendable Polymer System" on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. in 104 Textile Building. Her lecture is hosted by Auburn University's Department of Polymer and Fiber Engineering.

Murphy will address the problem of microcrack formation and the recent development of remendable and self-healing polymer systems. She will discuss a novel single-component system that utilizes the reversible Diels-Alder (r-DA) reaction to achieve multiple cycles of mending.

In the field of structural materials, highly cross-linked polymeric solids are desirable due to their superior mechanical strength, durability and solvent resistance. These materials are hard, colorless and transparent at room temperatures and can be customized to fit a range of desired working temperatures. Upon exposure to constant external stress, these systems experience thermal and mechanical fatigue that results in the formation of microcracks. When left untreated, these cracks propagate and enlarge, resulting in catastrophic failure.

Murphy will receive her doctorate this summer. For more information on the research she is conducting with Fred Wudl's group, please visit http://www.chem.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/wudl/index.shtml.