Designing polymers for industry
Polymers are materials composed of large molecules used to make everyday products from paint to sunscreen.
Traditional approaches to creating polymers (known as polymerisation) tend to result in a diverse blend of polymers and give little or no control over their molecular structure and properties.
Better control over the polymers created through the process would open up the opportunity to create new and improved products.
The RAFT process
Our RAFT (Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer) technology provides a better way of making polymers. It gives rise to products with vastly improved performance, which can give companies an important differentiation in the marketplace.
RAFT's applications range from novel drug delivery systems to personal care products, lubricants and coatings.
RAFT is a form of controlled free radical polymerisation that enables design of polymers with enhanced properties. RAFT can be used with a wide range of monomers and reaction conditions and gives unprecedented control over polymer size, composition and architecture. It is based on scalable manufacturing processes that use conventional processing equipment.
RAFT polymers can be synthesised with:
- predetermined molecular weight and narrow molecular weight distributions, resulting in more homogeneous polymer structures requiring less downstream processing
- reactive terminal groups that can be purposely manipulated to build in additional functionality in the polymer backbone
- complex architecture, including graft, star and gradient polymers.
We continue to pursue the design of novel materials with superior chemical, physical and mechanical properties for application in a range of areas.
RAFT is protected by an extensive intellectual property portfolio and is available for collaboration and licensing. Our aim is to enable commercial use of RAFT and to establish mutually beneficial relationships. We work with partners in designing polymers to suit their needs and can provide rapid prototyping of polymers using our high-throughput facilities, which enable many possible combinations of polymer structure and composition to be rapidly and cost-effectively developed and evaluated.
RAFT involves the use of chain transfer agents, which are small organic molecules that are responsible for controlling growth. RAFT agents can be purchased from our licensed suppliers: Boron Molecular, Monomer Polymer, Sigma Aldrich and Strem.