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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X010864/1
Title: Insights into Degradable Branched Step-growth Polymers using Transfer-dominated Branching Radical Telomerisation
Principal Investigator: Rannard, Professor S
Other Investigators:
McDonald, Dr T O
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2023 Ends: 31 May 2026 Value (£): 763,278
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Jul 2022 EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation Panel - July 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Polymer degradation may be used to decrease environmental issues or to enable the function of various advanced technologies. For example, next generation drug delivery mechanisms often require a targeted degradation in response to local environmental changes (eg pH in a tumour). Branched polymers offer novel material behaviour and unique product benefits; several systems have been commercialised leading to significant market value. Many of the chemistries that are used for branched polymer production are difficult to perform. Often the type of material that can be made and the cost of manufacture mean that materials are not viable for a range of potential applications. Within this research, the programme of science that is proposed will establish a knowledge foundation for the future study and application of a new polymer synthesis platform.

Numerous opportunities exist within the new synthesis used here that allows the fine tuning of materials properties using techniques already known to industry but not previously applied in this manner. By providing evidence that a range of degradation opportunities exist, it is expected that the research here will stimulate considerable additional studies and industrial engagement.

Branched polymers are used in various commodity applications such a paper-manufacturing, coatings and sealants, laundry powders and water purification; however, uses in more advanced technologies is restricted by the chemistries that may be accessed in their synthesis. Additionally triggered and environmental degradation of branched polymers is difficult to control and design into the structures at the point of manufacture. The work presented here directly addresses these issues and aims to demonstrate the considerable flexibility available for future product design.

If fully successful, the programme will generate a world-leading position for UK academia and industry with the potential to generate considerable value for the UK economy through patented technologies and provide sustainable materials for numerous market sectors.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk