Polymer Engineering & Characterisation (PEC)

Polymers are essential components of personal care and consumer care products, specialty coatings, controlled delivery particles and other high performance applications. Our research programme develops new polymers and polymer particles with tailor-made properties to address the needs of industry for these materials. Besides the design of the polymers and particles, we also address the issues of cost-effectiveness and reaction engineering. We have strong characterization capabilities, not only limited to polymers.

The objectives of the PEC division are:

  • To develop and maintain core capabilities in polymer architecture synthesis and (nano) particle synthesis
  • To strive towards sustainable routes for polymer synthesis (e.g. water-based)
  • To identify application areas with relevance to Singapore and set-up projects/programs in those areas (e.g. oil field chemicals, NoSOC)
  • To develop innovative polymer and particle synthesis routes
  • To maintain and further develop strong characterization capabilities (focused on spectroscopy, NMR and X-ray)

The four teams in PEC are Polymer Chemistry and Reaction Engineering (PCRE), Sustainable Polymers & Particle Technologies (SPPT), Specialty Chemicals and Polymer Analytics and Chemometrics (SCAPAC) and Oil Field Chemistry (OFC).

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Polymer Chemistry and Reaction Engineering (PCRE)

All the polymerization mechanisms are practised in PCRE, with an emphasis on (Controlled) Radical Polymerization. Strong capabilities in special polymer architectures (eg ladder polymers, hyperbranched polymers) Important aspects of reactivity, polymerization kinetics and upscaling are studied as well. The sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical production of monomers and polymers requires highly efficient catalysts.

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Sustainable Polymers & Particle Technologies (SPPT) 

Increasingly the environmental aspects of polymers and particles are a paramount aspect of polymer and special particle morphologies, including nanocapsules, encapsulated clay platelets and core-shell structures. The use of emulsion polymerization like technolgies to procude polymers and particles in aqueous media is a strength of the team. Applications are in controlled release, coatings and functional polymers. 

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Specialty Chemicals and Polymer Analytics and Chemometrics (SCAPAC)

The team has expertise in advanced spectroscopic techniques combined with chemometrics capabilities. Emphasis is on IR- Raman- and Mass spectrometry as well as several X-ray techniques (SAXS, X-ray CT scan, single crystal and powder diffraction). The Band Target Entropy Minimization algorithm is a strong in-house capability to analyse complex spectra.

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Oil Field Chemistry (OFC)

The ICES Oilfield Chemicals Laboratory is strategically positioned and equipped in providing analytical and technical solutions for the Oilfield Chemicals industry. Our research activities include fluid and rock analysis, enhanced oil recovery, flow assurance, encapsulation, and synthesis of small molecules and functional polymers. Our capabilities in these areas allow specialty chemicals companies to develop new and better products.