Researchers in the College of Science and College of Engineering, Virginia, have discovered that a high-strength polymer called ‘PBDT’ has a rare double helix structure, opening possibilities for use in a variety of applications.
This discovery, recently published in Nature Communications, comes as an extension of the development of a polymer ion-gel, which promises to outperform conventional flammable liquid battery electrolytes. Now, equipped with evidence of the double helix structure, the potential for this high-performance material extends well beyond batteries.
The confirmation of the double helix structure opens up possibilities for PBDT's potential application beyond battery electrolytes; its rigidity could aid new composites such as lightweight aerospace material. The polymer's supreme rigidity means that only a fraction of it would be needed to achieve comparable performance to conventional reinforcing fillers.