Qi Zhang

University of Groningen

Honoree: ACS Outstanding International Student, Polymer Science & Engineering

Qi is the winner of PMSE’s 2021 ACS Outstanding Global International Student Award in Polymer Science and Engineering. His mentors, Prof. He Tian at the East China University of Science and Technology and Nobel Laureate Prof. Ben Feringa at the University of Groningen are the recipients of the 2021 ACS Outstanding Global International Mentor Award in Polymer Science and Engineering.

Bio – Qi obtained his BSc (2015) and PhD degree (2020) at East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST, Shanghai, China). He completed his PhD thesis about dynamic supramolecular materials in the group of Prof. He Tian (ECUST), which was awarded as the winner of IUPAC-Solvay International Award for Young Chemists in 2020. In Nov. 2019, he joined the Feringa group as a visiting researcher and started his postdoc position since May, 2020. He will continue to pursue the intriguing chemistry of disulfide polymers in Feringa group under the funding of Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship.

Abstract Title: The road to intrinsically dynamic materials: disulfide chemistry as a solution

Abstract Body: Understanding dynamic chemistry systems in Nature inspires chemists to design biomimetic synthetic materials. Disulfide bonds, the bonds that tie peptides, feature their dynamic covalent nature, that is reversible covalent bonds. Here we propose that making polymers with disulfide bonds can be a solution towards intrinsically dynamic materials. Unlike traditional plastics and noncovalent (supramolecular) polymers, poly(disulfides) can simultaneously exhibit chemical recycling ability and excellent mechanical performances. We will focus on the poly(disulfides) derived from thioctic acid, a natural small molecule, to show the promising applications of these intrinsically dynamic materials in self-healing elastomers, adhesives, and actuators.