Crystallization of model precision and random polyethylenes
This project will address how the melt structure of polymers with short or long branches, or with polar or non-polar branches may change their crystallization behavior. Studies of model blends, and polyethylenes with pendant groups, either random or at a precise distance will enable building of fundamental relations between chain-structure and properties to predict the behavior of commercial complex polyethylene materials. These studies are significant because the exponential expansion of shale gas extraction in USA has placed the US as the most competitive provider of derivatives such as polyethylenes. Hence, advances in the understanding of the state of the melt and crystallization of polyethylenes are of relevance as they could derive new processing technologies and lead to major cost- and energy saving technologies. This research is also aimed at providing learning and training opportunities for postdoctoral scholars with interest in broadening knowledge of fundamentals of polymer crystallization as it applies to major polyolefin manufacturing processes.