Novel high-performance fluoropolymers

Title of the research project

PhotoFluo - Synthesis and photopolymerisation of new fluorinated macromonomers for the obtaining of high performance fluoropolymer

 

Scientific area

Polymer chemistry, Fluoropolymers, Photopolymerisation

 

Abstract

The goal of PhotoFluo project is to prepare fluoropolymers that can be promising alternatives in terms of safety and performances to the perfluoroalkyl molecules, currently raising safety issues. 24 secondments of the researchers of the consortium groups are scheduled to exploit the complementarities of the different expertises of each group, to share them and to reinforce young researchers career.

Description of the research project 

Photofluo project aims at developing novel high-performance fluoropolymers, suitable for optical and electronic devices, membranes for fuel cells and Li batteries, microfluidics, and biomaterials. This ambitious goal will be achieved starting from designing new perfluoropolyalkylether building blocks (PFPAE) with improved safety (not bioaccumulative as the perfluoroalkyl structure) and having chemical inertness, flexibility in a wide temperature range, very low refractive index and wettability.

PFPAE monomers will be properly modified and functionalized to tune the material final properties and make these precursors suitable for crosslinking. The fluoropolymers will be synthesized starting from the new monomers by photoinduced polymerization, chosen as an efficient and eco-friendly process: the polymer formation is fast (no more than minutes compared to hours requested by thermal processes), is solvent free, is carried out at room temperature consuming low amount of energy, permits spatial resolution, as it mainly occurs in the illuminated areas. After obtaining an original portfolio of PFPAE polymers, they will be fully characterized and tested in view of innovate applications.

 

Impact on researcher’s career and on society 

PhotoFluo project provides a window of opportunity for the researchers to work in challenging environments and acquire new skills and knowledge in chemistry and material science. In particular young researchers will exceptionally benefit from the project, as working with an interdisciplinary approach in an international team gives new career perspectives.

The development of safer fluoropolymers will impact different industrial fields. In fact polymers made of PFPAE building blocks have the advantage of not being bioaccumulative, unlike perfluoroalkyl chains which caused concerns and the banning in different applications.

 

Working group @Polito

Roberta Bongiovanni, Full Professor

Alessandra Vitale, Assistant Professor 

Giuseppe Trusiano, PhD student

Lucrezia Damasco, M.Sc. student

Simone Lessone, M.Sc. student

 

International Partners

Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier (Francia)

Trinity Western University (Canada)

Photofluo project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690917

  • Budget: 139500 €
  • Start date: 1/02/2016
  • End date: 31/01/2020