Building New Building Blocks
Polymers are the building blocks of current materials science. By combining sets of molecules from known materials, an entirely new compound-with entirely new physical characteristics-often results.
Shiping Zhu has been studying one of the latest techniques for manufacturing specialized, high-value polymers. As a result, he has found a way to overcome the long-standing expenses and inefficiencies associated with producing these polymers. And along the way, he's developing the potential of this process for sophisticated biomedical and pharmaceutical agents.
How? Zhu's work has integrated a number of different approaches to the production of new materials. It is pointing the way to a number of ambitious applications that could bring even more innovative industrial technology into practical reality.
As the holder of a Canada Research Chair, Zhu will expand his research into techniques for creating new materials. He'll explore the use of nanotechnology, the engineering of polymers at the molecular level. This method employs chemical agents that generate specific arrangements of fibres and crystals.
Zhu's research will make it possible to understand and control the molecular processes underlying nanotechnology. In this way, these processes could become the basis for making valuable products such as light, high-strength polymers. These products are currently based on very expensive raw materials, but nanotechnology could make it possible to substitute materials that are far less expensive. Other products could even be created with specific characteristics designed to meet specific needs.