Interpolymer Complexes

Active members:  Thomas Swift, Stephen Rimmer

Hydrogen bonding is one of the most important factors to consider in the self-assembling of macromolecules. However the complex structures of many biomacromolecules mean it is far simpler to study synthetic polymers, with more well defined properties, and use the fundamental mechanics of these interactions as a model for more complex systems.

Traditional model for Poly(acrylic acid) interpolymer complexation shows two materials forming a ribbon/ladder structure

Work in the group has recently demonstrated that the traditionally perceived model for complex formation, an extended laddered structure where multiple chains stack against each other with repetitive bonding, is a flawed model. We are now looking at this system with a range of other polymer scientists to develop better understanding of polymer-polymer interactions.

Highlights:
1. T. Swift, L. Swanson and S. Rimmer, RSC Advances, 2014, 4, 57991-57995 – In which we propose the method of detection of poly(acrylamide) using the anisotropic signal of a ACE labelled PAA probe polymer.
2. T. Swift, L. Swanson, A. Bretherick and S. Rimmer, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 2015 – The demonstration of the detection of PAM based flocculants (both anionic and cationic) used in fresh water treatment processes.
3. Thomas Swift, Natalie Paul, Linda Swanson, Maria Katsikogianni & Stephen Rimmer, Polymer, 2017 – FRET studies on PAA-PAM complexes that proved the laddered model of complexation is flawed.
4. Thomas Swift, Colin Seaton & Stephen Rimmer, Soft Matter, 2017 – Comparing the critical pH required for PAA to hydrogen bond with other polymer systems