When 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Oct 03, 2011
Where Johnson Rooms, Lurie Engineering Center
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Albert Yee, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science University of California, Irvine

Mechanical and Thermal Behavior of Very Small Polymer Structures

Polymers are macromolecules, yet they can be fabricated into very small, nm-sized structures. It is even possible to make structures smaller than the unconstrained size of high MW polymers. One expects such structures to have unusual properties because the chain configuration we normally assume with polymer molecules will have been changed by the processing. In this talk I will describe the research we performed over the last few years on nm-sized polymer structures. Our research is motivated by the possibility of making quasi-3D nanostructures entirely out of polymers, but we are concerned about the thermal-physical stability of these highly constrained molecules. We are also curious as to the mechanical strength of nanostructures made from polymers. In this talk I will describe our investigation using an atomic force microscope equipped with a quartz-crystal resonator to obtain accurate force and deformation measurements on narrow MW polystyrene molded into pillars as small as 25 nm. The question is whether in such small structures the expected molecular orientation or the large surface to bulk ratio dominates their behavior.

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