Physical-Chemistry of heterogeneous polymer systems (HEMPOL) belongs to the Department of Physical Chemistry of the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros, ICTP-CSIC. It is currently composed of a Research Professor, three Tenured Scientists, a Marie Curie IIF Researcher, Technical Staff and a number of Contract Researchers.
Originally the Group was devoted to the research on ionic and radial polymerization, conformational and rheological properties and relaxation phenomena in polymers. Also transport phenomena, both ionic and molecular, which are still an important part of the Group’s research activities nowadays.
Along the last decade the surface modification of nano and micro hydroxilated particles has become one of the main topics in HEMPOL. New methods developed by the group are employed to modify the particles which are subsequently studied by themselves or as part of polymer based nano or microcomposites, paying special attention to the controlling of the interphases between the components. In this way, new materials are developed in the field of energy, building and others, with a strong concern for environmental issues.
Currently research is particularly intense in the following topics:
- Superhydrophobic hybrids and materials based on modified silica, transparent and mechanically stable at the same time. These materials find many applications as anticorrosion coatings or superslippery surfaces.
- Superhydrophobic conjugated polymers with electronic properties, as new water repellent electronic materials.
- Thermoplastic Solid Polymer Electrolytes for Li+ batteries. These materials behave as liquids at the microscopic scale, with high ionic conductivities, while they behave as thermoplastic solids even over 70ºC. Their thermoplastic character makes them extremely easy to process by conventional processing aids such as extrusion or melt compounding.
- Synthesis and characterization of MOF organo-inorganic fillers making use of different ligands and changing the transition metal. In glassy polymers with high thermal stability, the addition of these fillers produces hybrid membranes with high adsorption of greenhouse gases.