NATO Science for

SFP 973925 Polymer Gels
Development of New Fiber Materials from Reversible (Associative) Polymer Gels

Project Co-Directors:

B. Erman, Sabanci University Istanbul, Turkey (NPD)
A.R. Khokhlov, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia (PPD)
P.G. Khalatur, Tver State University, Tver, Russia
A.L. Krylov, The Institute of Synthetic Fibers with Experimental Plant, Tver, Russia (End-user)
Approval Date: 13 December 1999
Duration: 3 years: since December 1999, expected completion by December 2002

Major Objectives

On the basis of interdisciplinary approach (synthesis + physical experiment + theory + simulation) we aim to develop the new technology for formation of polymer fibers via the elongation of reversible polymer gels in the process of fiber spinning. To this end, we are planning:
  • to synthesize new copolymers with associative groups forming reversible gels and to study physical properties of these gels including the behavior in elongational flow;
  • to obtain new fibers from physical gels with better mechanical characteristics and enhanced functional properties;
  • for some of developed technologies to replace organic solvents causing environmental pollution by ecologically pure solvents (e.g., water).

Overview of Achievements Since the Start of the Project until 30 April, 2002

We have carried out the synthesis and characterization of new copolymers, including hydrophobically modified poly(vinyl alcohol), as well as copolymers from acrylonytrile and acrylic acid. Due to the presence of associating groups and selective solubility of different chain sections, these copolymers are capable of forming physical (reversible) gels which could be used for fiber production via the modern gel technology. We have developed new experimental methods for studying the reversible gels and performed detailed characterization of them. Also, we have studied theoretically the phase behavior of the model systems of self-associating polymers and their properties under the influence of shear and elongation flow. For the report time, we have good chance to improve the existing gel-technology process. This will result in considerable reduction of the total power consumption and the amount of regenerated solvent. Using the copolymers synthesized and the original gel technology that the teams involved in the Project are currently developing, we have performed experiments on fiber formation and obtained samples of new fibers by means of gel-spinning facilities of the End-user and electrospinning facilities of Istanbul group. We established the optimum conditions for fiber formation from the gels obtained and studied.

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