The literature said that the phenylsulfonamide that Keldy Mason was going to use to initiate a polymerization reaction was supposed to be a white solid. But the substance he had was a thick oil–that is, until he noticed crystals growing on the rim of a test tube. So he poured the solution into a petri dish, scratched the glass to give the crystals some texture to latch onto, and hoped for the best. To his delight, it didn’t take long for the dish to become covered in crystals. He was able to grow even bigger crystals in future purification attempts. Mason plans to use the initiator to make linear copolymers using the ring-opening metathesis polymerization reaction, and then test out various copolymer architectures to see which ones lead to the best mechanical properties.
Credit: Keldy Mason
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