The focus of my research is in the area of polymer chemistry. More specifically, my interest is in the physical and chemical behavior of polymer colloids as well as their potential applications. By altering the chemical composition of the latex, we can "tune" the latex to be more or less compatible with certain substrates. Also, we can build catalytic sites into the latex particles, which can increase their activity and lead to new applications. Here at UW-La Crosse, my research is centered on using polymer latexes for drug delivery as well as for the catalytic neutralization of organic contaminants (chlorinated hydrocarbons, pesticides, etc.) in ground water.
Students in my research group obtain experience in polymer synthesis and characterization, including emulsion and bulk polymerization. They learn to use state of the art equipment to make molecular weight measurement and determine physical properties such as tensile strength, toughness, hardness and modulus. Students may also conduct kinetic analyses to determine rates of reactions or they may investigate thermodynamic or mass transport phenomena.
The data that students obtain during the course of their research may be presented in a number of different venues. Students may present their research at local student meetings such as the UW-L Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity, or they may present at professional meetings such as local, regional, or national meetings of the American Chemical Society. The students may find their results the subject of articles in peer-reviewed professional journals.
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