Chemical and Biotechnology Professor, Kim Gyu-Han’s Research Published as Cover Paper in “Polymer Chemistry”
SeoulTech Chemical and Bioengineering professor, Kim Gyu-han (as corresponding author) and KAIST Professor, Choi Si-young’s research team, successfully published their joint research on the world-renowned academic journal, ‘Polymer Chemistry' (IF: 5.582, within the top 10.5% of JCR). The research studies the internal shape and connectivity of polyHIPE, a porous polymer material. In recognition of its originality and excellence, the paper was selected as the journal’s cover thesis (January 28, 2022).
PolyHIPE is a porous polymer material synthesized using high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) as a template. The material consists of uniform pores the size of ten to hundreds of micrometers that take up 80% or more of its mass. The functionality of this polymer material may vary greatly depending on the shape and connectivity of the internal pores. Using these attributes, several polyHIPE materials have been developed and used to create hydrogels, catalyst supporters, and biological tissue supporters.
In order to further expand the application of polyHIPE, the shape and connectivity of the internal pores should be easily controllable. Thus, an accurate understanding of the formation mechanism of polyHIPE is imperative. Research on the mechanism of these structures, however, has been lacking.
In the study, the type of photoinitiator, the type of emulsifier that stabilizes the high internal phase emulsion, and the intensity of ultraviolet light applied for photopolymerization were controlled. The shape and connectivity of the internal pores were then precisely analyzed. Through this study, the internal structure of polyHIPE and its formation through photopolymerization was revealed for the first time. Furthermore, the study succeeded in identifying several new types of internal pore structures.
The study found that when creating polyHIPE, it is possible to form complex external shapes through 3D printing. This possibility is expected to serve as a foundation in increasing the utility of porous polymer materials in the future.
Dr. Kim Soo-bin of the Northwestern University Department of Chemistry and Dr. Kim Jong-min of the KAIST Department of Biochemical Engineering participated as the co-first authors of the paper. Professor Choi Si-young of the KAIST Department of Biochemical Engineering and SeoulTech Professor, Kim Kyu-Han participated as corresponding authors.
Journal Name: Polymer Chemistry (IF: 5.582, JCR Ranking: Top 10.5 %)
Paper Title: Interconnectivity and morphology control of poly-high internal phase emulsions under photo-polymerization