Proctor & Gamble uses poly(vinyl alcohol) for the casings of pods that hold laundry and dishwasher detergents. This polymer is good at hydrogen bonding and forms associating polymer solutions in water, which imparts interesting rheology (flow properties). Various other additives such as salts and surfactants can enhance the association effects in interesting ways. Adding hydrogen bond accepting molecules like dimethylsulfoxide or tetramethyl urea and lower the viscosity by preventing assoications. Our group studies aqueous poly(vinyl alcohol) solution rheology and the phase boundaries of these solutions. The best undergraduates involved get the opportunity to do summer or coop internships at Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati.
We ask that undergraduates commit to 10 hours/week in the lab. Interested students from all majors are welcome. Many students join as Freshmen - the earlier you get started the more you can do!
Please e-mail Prof. Colby expressing interest and don't forget to send your CV.