Polymers have significantly impacted our world, from food and beverage packaging to safely feed and hydrate a rapidly growing global population to cardiovascular stents and prosthetic devices to extend the quality of our lives.
There is no question that macromolecular science and engineering will continue to deliver technology to our society, this remains a mission of the center. However, now the center integrates a lens of sustainability without compromising our impact. It is indeed possible to improve our lives without damaging our Earth, this demands an additional criterion in our innovation process.
Recent examples of technological breakthroughs include the 3D printing of high molecular weight polymers in water, thus eliminating a reliance on volatile organic solvents. Moreover, using less material, we are now able to observe improved properties from a part that weighs half as much.
Recent advances in click chemistry have enabled gynecological gels that improve the outcomes of brachytherapies and lessening the anxiety associated with conventional clinical treatments. Sugar-based monomers now serve as viable feedstocks for polymerization, and fatty acids now enable new bio-based feedstocks to complement petroleum feedstocks.