( June 8, 2022) A collaboration between Prof. Lou Madsen and Prof. Ralph Colby at Pennsylvania State University has received a three-year, $600K grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support their proposal, “Robust General Methods for Determination of Polyelectrolyte Molecular Weight and Polydispersity”. The key aim of the research is to devise a method for molecular weight determination for ionic polymers.

Polyelectrolytes are long chain macromolecules containing an ionic (charged) group. The ionic groups allow polyelectrolytes to dissolve in water, and these charged macromolecules have applications in many industries such as biomedicine and energy storage. Ionic polymers exhibit complex behavior in solution, which creates problems when trying to characterize their molecular properties. Developing novel methods for characterizing and describing these ionic polymers has the potential to not only expand the physical understanding of this important class of polymers, but also to enable their much more rapid integration into new technologies.