Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Chemla Room (67-3111) and Zoom
Talk Title: Polyacetals: Sustainable Polymers for Sustainable Energy
Polyacetals are promising multi-purpose materials that are used in applications ranging from engineering plastics to degradable biomaterials. In recent work, we have shown that by varying polyacetal oxygen-to-carbon ratio and molecular weight, the thermomechanical properties can be tuned such that polyacetals can be used as polymer electrolytes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or as thermoplastic materials with polyolefin-like tensile properties. Furthermore, the low ceiling temperatures exhibited my many polyacetal derivatives enables chemical recycling to cyclic acetal monomer with high efficiency from mixed plastic waste. To achieve well-defined polyacetals with molecular weights ranging from 5–250 kDa, we developed a highly selective catalyst system that facilitates the controlled cationic ring-opening polymerization (CROP) of cyclic acetal monomers at room temperature. This presentation will review the developments of controlled cyclic acetal CROP and the application of polyacetals as both polymer electrolytes for Li-ion batteries and as possible sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics.
Dr. Abel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley.
The Abel group conducts research at the interfaces of polymer organic chemistry, catalysis, and materials science. We develop new living polymerization reactions, with an emphasis on stereoselective and scalable catalysis, guided by the growing energetic, environmental, and economic concerns associated with the production and end-of-life fates of synthetic materials. We pursue application-driven polymer chemistry, where the desired chemical identity, thermomechanical properties, and end-use of the polymer materials are used to guide the development of new polymerization methods. We also take a methodology approach to discovering new polymerization reactions to push the field of polymer chemistry towards previously unobtainable control over polymer microstructure, architecture, and functionality.