Research update for polymers and colloids

Polymers are chemical compounds with repeating structural units. Examples of polymers in applications include plastics like styrofoam and HDPE, as well as more advanced applications such as coatings, membranes, and polymeric additives.

The Glogowski research group focuses on the synthesis and characterization of stimuli-responsive or "smart" polymers. These materials dramatically change properties in response to a small change in external stimuli such as temperature or pH. The applications for these materials are wide ranging from drug delivery to architectural coatings or paint. The group uses controlled free radical polymerization methods such as ATRP and ARGET ATRP to control both polymer functionality and polymer architecture. Controlling the structure of the smart polymer provides the ability to tune the properties of these new materials to optimize their performance for each target application.

In addition to researching polymers on their own, the Glogowski group also grafts stimuli-responsive polymers from colloids. Colloidal particles are dispersed within another material. This grafting combines the unique properties of the particles with the smart polymers to create tailored materials for applications such as adaptable nanocomposites and Pickering emulsions.

Current research in the Glogowski group builds on the expertise of Glogowski in synthesis and surface functionalization of inorganic nanoparticles and colloids, polymerization using controlled free radical techniques such as ATRP and RAFT, patterning of photoresponsive surfaces, and preparation of microfluidic devices for formation of microcapsules for carbon capture.

Undergraduate researchers are critical to the success of the Glogowski research group! Students typically start a research project between their first and third years at UW-Eau Claire, and are majoring or minoring in Materials Science, Materials Science & Engineering, or Chemistry. Please email Dr. Glogowski if you are interested in research and to learn how it works! 

 

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Commencement spring 2016 Glogowski research group graduating seniors

Photo of Phillip Conor, Elizabeth Stubbs, Erik Engness, and Dr. Elizabeth Glogowski at Commencement spring 2016