Queen’s University, Department of Chemical Engineering
Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Engineering, cross appointed to
19 Division Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6


Plenary Lecture: "Carbon Dioxide Switchable Polymers and Processes"

Carbon dioxide has emerged as a new and innovative “trigger” for stimuli-responsive materials. It is abundant, inexpensive, nontoxic and environmentally benign. Carbon dioxide switchable polymers are a class of stimuli-responsive polymers for which CO2 is a trigger used to change the polymer properties. We have prepared a variety of polymeric materials that are CO2 responsive, including nanoparticles with surface properties that can be switched from charged to uncharged using only carbon dioxide and air as triggers, switchable viscosity polymer solutions, switchable nanoparticles prepared via Polymerization Induced Self-Assembly (PISA), and switchable polymers for forward osmosis water treatment and purification. We have recently extended the development of CO2 switchable materials by preparing graft modified cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) that act as CO2 switchable Pickering emulsifiers. In addition to making stimuli-responsive polymers, CO2 switchable technology can be used as a valuable process alternative in polymer reaction engineering. CO2 switchable technology has been applied to various process applications including the preparation of artificial latexes, and the removal of the metal catalyst and ligand from polymers made using Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization. This presentation will provide an overview of recent progress in the preparation of CO2 switchable polymers and the application of CO2 switching principles to chemical engineering processes.