Polymer Laboratory

The polymer laboratory is located in WB250. This laboratory contains facilities for the synthesis, processing, and testing of polymer and biomaterials. For more information, please select from the list below.

The laboratory is furnished with the following equipment:
The equipment includes foam processing apparatus, data acquisition systems, medical devices, sensors, polymer and synthesis modules, constant temperature shaker baths, centrifuges, Shore hardness testers, ASTM ball rebound testers, DSC and TGA and other polymer testing equipment.

Research Topics

Electrospinning of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polymeric Materials

The electrospinning process will be used to embed multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in a Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) matrix, forming composite nanofibers. Initial dispersion of MWCNTs in water will be achieved by the use of surfactants. Different surfactants will be used in order to achieve the highest amount of MWCNTs being dispersed in the polymer solution. The efficiency of the surfactants will be examined as well as their effects on the electrospinning process. After electrospinning, the morphology of the electrospun nanofibers and the distribution and conformation of the MWCNTs in the nanofibers will be studied by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The elastic modulus of the electrospun composite fibers will be measured using AFM. It is expected that the presence of aligned and unagglomerated MWCNTs will improve the mechanical properties dramatically.

Effects of Molecular Weight Distribution on the Formation of Fibers of Electrospinning Polystyrene

It is widely recognized that molecular weight distribution (MWD) is an important factor affecting the rheological behavior of polymer solutions. The objective of this research is to study the effects of MWD on the formation of electrospun polystyrene fibers in THF. The results will be compared with the monodisperse system. A quantitative relationship between chain entanglements attributed to high molecular weight component and the rheological properties of the polydisperse system will be established. Concentrations for the incipient as well as stable fiber formation in a polydisperse system may be predicted.

The objective of this research is to analyze the drug release kinetics between drug-coated stents. The stents are coated by different methods. A polymer-drug is electrospun onto the stent mesh to form a coating composed of submicron sized polymer fibers. Another non-polymer drug attachment is achieved through anodization. SEM is used to analysis distribution and morphologies of the coatings. Spectroscopy is then used to analyze the drug release kinetics. The release profiles of both methods are obtained. The releasing efficiencies achieved from different coating methods are compared.

Completed Research Projects

For more information on completed research projects, click on the links below:

Electrospinning of Polystyrene

Electrospinning of Biopolymers

  • Electrospinning of Biopolymers (Project research by Chen-Ming Hsu and Jing Tao)
  • Submicron-scale poly(E-caprolactone) fibers produced by electrospinning (Project research by Chen-Ming Hsu)
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Contact Information

Polymer Laboratory
Washburn Shops
Rms. 250, 251
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
Phone: +1-508-831-5817
Fax: +1-508-831-5178