Size does matter.

Size does matter.

Size does matter.

 Size does matter.

Size does matter.

Size does matter. 

Big molecules...pose big characterization problems. The traditional chemical methods--NMR, IR, UV-Vis, single crystal X-ray, and mass spectroscopy--are often powerless when it comes to structural determinations of polymers with molecular masses of several tons per mole. Also, the use of polymers to make macroscopically large structural assemblies requires special materials characterization techniques. LSU is among the best-equipped US universities when it comes to polymer (and colloid) characterization.  Responsibility for the equipment is shared by several units, and these labs follow a "decentralized but coordinated" model.  Equipment is grouped according to purpose and faculty oversight into three labs, PAL, PEP and ECL. 

   Training manual and instructional materials are available for some of the equipment in PAL, PEP and the other facilities.

PAL:  Contact Dr. Rafael Cueto  (225) 578-2059:  rcueto@lsu.edu or Dr. Paul S. Russo  (225) 578-5729: chruss@lsu.edu

DETAILS

The Polymer Analysis Laboratory (PAL) serves polymer/biopolymer researchers across the LSU campus, as well as CAMD users and industrial clients and researchers from other Louisiana universities. PAL coordinates with other labs on campus, including especially the Mass Spectroscopy Facility, the M.D. Socolofsky Microscopy Facility, Textiles Laboratory and the Peptide Facility. Students have easy "hands-on" access to almost all PAL facilities.

For polymer analysis at the molecular level, the mass, size, and aggregation characteristics of polymers may be characterized on any of three state-of-the-art laser light scattering systems built to the specifications of the department in LSU's Scientific Instrumentation Shops. Distribution of polymer molecular weight can be measured qualitatively or absolutely on one of three Agilent-Waters-Wyatt GPC systems equipped with multiangle static light scattering, single-angle dynamic light scattering, or viscometric detectors. Concentration is sensed by refractive index or absorption detectors.  One can also use a Viscotek TA60 triple detection system, which combines light scattering and viscometry in a GPC system.  LSU is one of the few universities in the US that can perform both aqueous and organic separations by asymmetric field flow fractionation, using the same GPC detectors just mentioned.  Does your polymer have too much freedom? Try constraining it to two dimensions on the NIMA Langmuir Blodget trough, equipped for surface pressure measurement and production of thin films.

At the supramolecular level, a wide range of equipment is available. PAL's thermal analysis facility, featuring equipment from TA Systems, Perkin Elmer and Seiko, includes differential scanning calorimetry (DSC--four instruments), simultaneous thermogravimetric/differential thermal analysis (TGA/DTA--two instruments), steady state and oscillatory thermomechanical analysis (TMA), and dynamic mechanical spectroscopy (DMS).  The DSC's have adequate sensitivity for many polymer solutions, as well as bulk polymers. Even more sensitive Microcal solution and titration calorimeters are available.  DMS samples can be tested in tension, shear, or bending using film, fiber, or bulk samples. PAL's optical microscopy facility is equipped for polarized, Normarski, transmission, and epi-fluorescence illumination, as well as confocal mode for "optical sectioning" of materials in three dimensions. Mettler and Linkam temperature control and shear stages are available. A specially constructed apparatus for fluorescence photobleaching recovery combines laser illumination and computer-interfaced photometry to measure diffusion rates in solutions, gels, melts, and liquid crystals. Film and video cameras interface to two separate image processing systems.

If all this isn't enough, see our friends! Velocity and equilibrium analytical ultracentrifugation studies of mass, size, shape and aggregation can be performed on a Beckman XLA, located in the LSU Peptide Facility. Try your luck at a really precise molecular weight with Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization/Time of Flight Mass Spectroscopy, located in Chemistry's Mass Spec facility. Or get an electrifying picture of what's going on in the Socolofsky Microscopy Facility, where a complementary optical microscopy facility also exists. Delicate structures, such as complex fluids, can be viewed in the freeze-fracture facility in yet another electron microscopy facility.  Or try your "hand" on the Kawabata apparatus in the Textiles Laboratory, one of several places around campus where tensile and other mechanical testing can be performed.  


PEP:   Contact Dr. Kerry Dooley (225) 578-3063:  dooley@che.lsu.edu

   

     DETAILS


ECL:  Contact: Dr. Qinglin Wu at 225-578-8369 wuqing@lsu.edu

     DETAILS

 Website:  http://www.rnr.lsu.edu/wu/HTMfiles/Qinglin%20Wu%20Engineering%20Composite%20Laboratory.htm

  

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