Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have synthesized new chemicals which promise to replace polymers. These chemicals, more efficient and robust than polymers, dubbed as bundlers may usher a new era in material discovery. The researchers worked closely with the U.S Department of Energy to bring this discovery to life.
Polymers are widespread in products like tyres, shampoos, clothes, and a million more. Polymers consist of small chain-like sub-units called monomers. The new chemicals promise to replace monomers with their rigid, customizable, and self-assembling qualities.
The new research is published in the journal Nature.
To create these new chemicals, the researchers put together for individual peptides. After bonding these chemicals with each other through Click chemistry, researchers discovered rod-like molecules. Researchers believe the new chemicals can be further adapted with synthetic polymers to create new hybrid nanomaterial.
A Wide Horizon of Widespread Applications
The lead author of the study, Chris Kloxin believes this may just open a new chapter in organic chemistry. His belief may not surprise many researchers in chemistry. It is essential in chemical discoveries to control the structure and function in materials. The new discovery has a very well specified structure and provides the ability to add chemical functionality at any location.
The horizon for its application is limitless. The new bundlemers can make way high-performance fibers, medicines, single-use plastics, and even biologics. The new materials also show potential for use in building bridges. Can they potentially replace Steel? It is too early to say but perhaps you will see new Kevlar in police used vests, or silk in parachutes even.
The researchers have filed a patent for their discovery and are planning to register even more in the near future. Their journey has been challenging. Pochan and Jeffery Saven, collaborated on various researches since 2012. They thought that something might have gone wrong during the experiments initially. However, with long expertise in collaboration, they were able to put initial surprises behind to make a life-changing discoveries for millions around the globe.