Expert in Polymer Chemistry, Optical Polymers, Organic Chemistry
Acrylic resins or "acrylics" as they are more commonly known in the trade, are dominated by a relatively few number of molecules such as butyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate. However by esterifying acrylic or methacrylic acid it is possible to synthesize hundreds of other monomers whose properties are determined by the alkyl side group. By copolymerizing different acrylate monomers with different comonomers it is possible to achieve an infinite range of polymer properties. For much of his carreer, Expert has synthesized new acrylic monomers and copolymerized them with various other monomers to achieve copolymers with unique optical, flame-retardant, porosity and mechanical properties. These copolymers have found applications as flame retardants, light diffusers, adhesives and barrier films. The technology of the production of the polymer is often dependant on the application. The monomers may be polymerized in water to give a latex (emulsion in the U.K.) or cast in bulk to give a transparent lens or film.If an adhesive is required it is possible to polymerize the monomers in an organic solvent which will then be used as the carrier for the adhesive. Expert has thus been able to tailor-make many polymers and copolymers to meet the exact polymer properties needed by his clients.
Applied Chemistry and applied organic chemistry are broad terms which imply that your chemical research is directed at achieving a specific objective or solving a defined problem rather than synthesizing molecules for curiosity only. From the very outset of his professional career, Expert has been fascinated by the industrial applications of chemistry. Subsequent years saw him employed in factories for the production of PVC, pesticides and later in office equipment. In between he kept a foot in academia brushing up his synthetic skills. No field of chemistry is more "applied" than polymer chemistry. Its applications scan heavy industry, transportation, materials and health. Expert’s exposure to each and every one of these fields has given him the breadth needed to apply polymer chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry as needed to solve specific problems in many fields. For example, in one specific project Expert took a very basic six-step synthesis for a drug and developed it into a high yield, high purity process that is now undergoing stage II screening.
While much maligned, bromine compounds remain the most effective flame retardants for synthetic materials. Expert was an "in-house" consultant for Bromine Compounds Ltd. for fifteen years. During that time he helped develop new monomers containing bromine from the stage of their laboratory synthesis, through their piloting, scale-up and industrial scale production. He was also instrumental in finding new applications for these monomers in addition to their flame retardancy. During this time he became familiar with other aspects of flame retardancy such as non-halogen flame retardant additives and the various health and environmental issues surrounding these compounds.
One of the interesting properties of Bromine is that its presence in a molecule increases the refractive index significantly. From his work in Bromine, Expert developed a life-long interest in optical polymers. He has thus worked on new ophthalmic polymers, polymers for micro-optics and polymers for laser lithography. He is presently involved in a project requiring fluorescent polymers. Many of these projects have been supported by the European Commission. Whereas Bromine is good for increasing refractive index, Fluorine is good in raising the Abbe Number and improving Near Infra-Red transparency. Recent projects in which Expert has been involved took advantage of all of these properties.
There are three basic methods for adhering two plastic pieces together, using an adhesive, introducing energy such as heat into the bond and solvent adhesion. Expert was approached by a manufacturer of hospital equipment who wished to glue together different components made of different plastics. Since most polymers are very selective in their solvents, in most cases these plastic did not have a common solvent which could adhere both. Expert devised a procedure whereby a "common" solvent could be prepared by the judicious selection of solvent mixtures. These same solvent mixtures remain in use by the client even thought the company has changed owners twice since the original work was performed.
He developed flexible light diffusers for use in Photodynamic cancer treatment.He lead a team that developed the production of a polymeric flame retardant.He upscaled a process for the production of nanoparticles for use in water treatment.He developed an acrylic emulsion for coating on flowers to increase their shelf life.He scaled up a laboratory process for a new drug that is now in stage II clinical trials.