The synthesis and characterisation of water soluble polymers and biomimetic applications
The first steps towards the long term objective of building entirely synthetic organic/inorganic composite materials in a biomimetic manner have been achieved. Following an introduction and discussion of the background to the work (Chapter 1), the syntheses and characterisation of various molecular weights of both poly(exo, exo-1,4-cyclopentenylene-5,6-ethylidene-2,3-sodium dicarboxylate) and poly(exo,endo-l,4-cyclopentenylene-5,6-ethylidene-2,3- sodium dicarboxylate) and model compounds of their repeat units have been described (Chapters 2 and 4). These compounds were used as additives in the crystallisation of CaCO(_3) from supersaturated aqueous solutions of Ca(HC0(_3))(_2) (Chapters 3 and 5). The work described in Chapter 3 showed that the diacid model compounds used as additives controlled the morphology of calcite crystals grown from supersaturated solutions of Ca(HCO(_3))(_2) over a large range of concentrations of model compound; [Ca(^2+)]: [model compound] 10 to 1000:1. The polymers of these monomers appeared to give the same type of crystal morphology as the isolated model repeat units, however, modification was observed on only one face of the CaCO(_3) crystals. This observation, and the relatively small crystal size distributions measured, indicated that the calcite crystallisation was nucleated beneath the polymer films at the truncated modified face and growth continued down into the solution.