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"Inverse Vulcanisation" Sulphur Polymers

Tuesday 1 June 2021, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Dr Joseph Bear, Kingston University


Elemental sulphur is an earth abundant, inexpensive (priced at $90 / long ton in 2017) by-product of oil-refining. It is a raw material which we have only recently looked at exploiting as a feedstock for polymeric materials. Termed “inverse vulcanisation” polymers, organic linkers are used to link sulphur chains together in a similar way as sulphur is used in vulcanised rubber, by linking poly(isoprene) chains. Since the seminal work by Pyun et al., 1 there have been significant developments in the field, with applications as diverse as: healable infrared lenses, cathode materials for lithium-sulphur batteries, gas separation materials and water filtration devices. My co-workers and I were the first to report sulphur polymer nanocomposite films formed from the introduction of pre-formed nanomaterials into the sulphur polymer synthesis, as well as thin film sulphur polymer nanocomposite materials from the growth of single-source precursors from solution processed thin films. I will detail the progress of work in this field from its inception, the synthesis of the first sulphur “inverse vulcanisation” polymer nanocomposites, the use of “inverse vulcanisation” sulphur polymers as feedstocks for activated carbons for gas separation and the use of porous sulphur polymer supports for noble metal nanoparticles for use in degrading organic pollutants in water. The last part of my talk will involve the discussion of a customisable water filter which I have been contributing towards as part of a Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) consortium with partners overseas.

1. W. J. Chung, J. J. Griebel, E. T. Kim, H. Yoon, A. G. Simmonds, H. J. Ji, P. T. Dirlam, R. S. Glass, J. J. Wie,
N. A. Nguyen, et al., Nat. Chem. 2013, 5, 518–524.

Location: Virtual