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Theo Dingemans

Chair of the Department of Applied Physical Sciences
Murray Hall 1111

Research Interest:
Design and Synthesis of High Molecular Weight All-Aromatic Polymers


Professional Background

2009 — 2016 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor of Chemistry and Aerospace Engineering, Delft, University of Technology 2014 — 2015 Sabbatical leave, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Chemistry, with Professor Edward T. Samulski 2012 — 2016 Adjunct professor University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Chemistry 2007 Sabbatical leave, Cavendish Laboratories, Cambridge University, UK, with Professor Sir Richard Friend 2003 — 2009 Associate professor, UHD, at the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering and Faculty of Applied Sciences, Department of Chemical Engineering 2000 — 2003 Staff Scientist, ICASE, NASA Langley Research Center 2000 — 2003 Adjunct professor at the University of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 1998 — 2000 National Academy of Sciences–National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with dr. T. L. StClair, NASA Langley Research Center

Research Synopsis

My group focuses on the design and synthesis of high molecular weight all-aromatic polymers, low molar mass liquid crystals and the conjunction of these two topics in order to engineer new classes of high-performance polymers. For example, we design liquid crystal network polymers, aramids, epoxies, polyimides, and polyaryletherketones that can be used to prepare high-strength fibers, films and (non)continuous fiber reinforced (nano)composites.

However, the need for new lightweight materials with the ability to perform both structural and functional tasks is increasing rapidly. This is certainly true for demanding aerospace applications but also for areas related to energy generation, energy storage, water purification and gas separation. In order to meet this need we are designing new high-performance polymer chemistries:

  • Poly(azomethine)s can be used as structural films but at the same time these conjugated polymers can function as the active component in organic photovoltaic and electrochromic devices
  • Poly(etherimide)s (PEIs) can be modified with 0-D, 1-D and 2-D carbon nano structures, which makes them useful for thermoelectric and sensing/actuating applications
  • Non-linear PEIs are structural membranes that have the ability to separate small molecules, for example CO2 from methane, at very high pressures
  • Sulfonated liquid crystal polymers are currently evaluated for water desalination and as proton exchange membranes for fuel-cell applications
  • Liquid crystal block copolymers have been designed with the ability to function as single component high temperature shape-memory structures

Our polymer analytical lab is equipped with TA Instruments thermal analysis equipment (TGA5500, DSC2500, ARES-G2 and a RSA-G2), Wyatt Technologies light scattering equipment (Dawn Heleos II) and a Shimadzu Scientific Instruments GPC (Prominence)