Golder granted Army Research Office Young Investigator Award

Submitted by Diana Knight on

Assistant Professor Matthew Golder was selected for the Young Investigator Program (YIP) for his work "Multi-Responsive Macromolecular Fluxional Networks as Novel Adaptive Polymeric Systems."

YIP awards are one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Army on outstanding scientists beginning their independent careers. The objective of the YIP is to attract outstanding young university faculty members to pursue fundamental research in areas relevant to the Army, to support their research in these areas, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

Professor Golder applies his expertise in organic synthesis and polymer chemistry to build novel macromolecular architectures that address challenges spanning energy, sustainability, and biomedicine. The discovery of structural motifs spanning a variety of size regimes requires innovative approaches to construct and link functional building blocks. Some representative goals of the Golder research team include the design of methodology to access functional cyclic polymers, reconfigurable thermoplastics & thermosets, upcycled commodity polyolefins, and force-responsive soft materials.

Numerous classes of polymeric materials contain crosslinks between neighboring chains. These so-called thermosets have desirable mechanical properties for a variety of applications, but cannot be reshaped, remolded, or recycled due to the permanent nature of covalent crosslinks. An alternative architecture would introduce dynamic covalent bonds that can transform a thermoset to a thermoplastic under certain conditions. These materials, appropriately termed covalent adaptable networks, function via biomolecular junction reorganization, leading to thermosets that flow and stress relax at elevated temperatures. To improve material longevity and performance, motifs that could undergo sigmatropic rearrangements would allow access to covalent adaptable networks that depend solely on unimolecular functionality. These “shape-shifting” networks may be realized by utilizing bullvalene, a rigid hydrocarbon that undergoes Cope rearrangements under ambient conditions, as a prototypical “fluxional” crosslinker. This proposal aims to evaluate the impact of macromolecular pericyclic reactions on materials properties. Despite finding applications in supramolecular chemistry, bullvalene and related fluxional hydrocarbons have yet to be exploited in crosslinked polymer architectures.

Congratulations, Prof. Golder!

For more information about Professor Golder and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.