Functionalized compatibilizers for enhancing adhesion between semi-crystalline polymers

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Research unit  Soft Matter and Chemistry Laboratory, UMR 7167 (
Address  10, rue Vauquelin 75005 Paris, France
Home institution ESPCI Paris (
Supervisors Nathan Van Zee (
Renaud Nicolaÿ (
Funding source Paris Emergence 2018 (City of Paris)
Start date October–December 2019
Candidates are asked to submit their CV and provide contact information for references to and

Description of the laboratory :

The Soft Matter and Chemistry Laboratory (MMC) is a CNRS mixed research unit at the ESPCI Paris, a grande école internationally recognized for its scientific excellence in training and research. The MMC laboratory works in close collaboration with industrial partners on research topics linked to the development of new fundamental concepts and applications. Its main areas of research include the development of synthetic methods to access architecturally complex molecules ; the design and study of structured polymeric and hybrid materials ; the design and study of stimuli-responsive functional systems ; supramolecular chemistry ; and the dynamic and mechanical study of polymeric-colloid formulations and composites.

Project description :

The majority of plastic collected through recycling programs is not actually reused. The rate of reuse is so low because most recycled polymers are not economically viable for use in equal or higher value applications, a consequence of the costs and limitations of current reprocessing technology. Isotactic polypropylene (iPP) and polyethylene (PE) are the most widely used and unfortunately among the least reused polymers today. Objects made with these polyolefins are reprocessed together because they are difficult to rapidly sort. However, when they are blended together, the resulting material is not useful for any applications because PE and iPP are immiscible and typically exhibit minimal interfacial adhesion. Other forms of polyolefin processing, such as damage repair, adhesives, and additive manufacturing, are subject to the same underlying fundamental challenge : how can interfacial adhesion be enhanced between immiscible semi-crystalline polymers to improve the final material’s mechanical properties ? Unfortunately, all reported methods possess restrictive limits and trade-offs. In this project, we will explore unconventional strategies to generate strong interfacial adhesion between incompatible semi-crystalline polymers. The key innovation will be functionalized polymeric materials that mechanically lock into the crystalline domains of adjacent semi-crystalline phases. This project will be inherrently interdisciplinary, as it will encompass organic synthesis, polymer functionalization, supramolecular assembly, physical chemistry, and materials science. We will elucidate principles generated in this project through creative application of X-ray scattering, microscopy, rheology, calorimetry, and mechanical testing techniques.

Required background :

The candidate should have a keen interest in polymer functionalization, supramolecular chemistry, and polymer characterization.

Keywords :

Polymer functionalization, supramolecular chemistry, polymer nucleation, crystallization, physical chemistry, rheology, microscopy, calorimetry, X-ray scattering

10 Rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris