Report from 15th POLYCHAR World Forum  on Advanced Materials,

Buzios, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


POLYCHAR 16 was held April 16-20, 2007, in Búzios, a coastal resort some 150 km north of Rio de Janeiro. The popular (15th) Course on Polymer Characterization was held one day before the Forum. The Course is a ‘distinguished education project’ of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Until 2003 the conference was held annually at the University of North Texas, in Denton. Since then the Forum moves around the world: Guimarães, Portugal in 2004; Singapore in 2005; Nara, Japan in 2006 – and this year for the first time in South America. Initially the conference name indicated its focus on polymer characterization (hence POLYCHAR) but it broadened later to a wider scope including also composites and other materials which are not polymers.


POLYCHAR 15 as well as the 15th Course were organized by the Instituto de Macromoléculas Professora Eloísa Mano, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (IMA/UFRJ). The Organizing Committee was led by Prof. Elizabete Fernandes Lucas – IMA/UFRJ (Chairperson). The organization was wonderful (even not counting the boat excursion to islands in the Atlantic which also took place).  We as the participants would like to thank very warmly Elizabete, and also to thank her colleagues including Marcia C. Amorim, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, as well as Breno Dumoulin and other IMA students.


As in past years, POLYCHAR puts emphasis on the quality of research presented – in contrast to maximizing the number of participants. This allows most years to avoid

parallel sessions, and there were none this year.  The areas covered include Nano- and Smart Materials; Surfaces, Interfaces and Tribology; Mechanical Properties and Performance; Synthesis; Predictive Methods; Natural and Biodegradable Materials and RecyclingBiomaterials; Characterization and Structure-Properties Relations. An increased number of papers on ‘green’ science and recycling as compared to past years seems a symptom of the times. 


There was a total of 181 registered participants from 22 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, UK, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela) who have contributed 57 oral contributions and 160 posters. Many contributions were presented by students (12 oral presentations and the majority of the posters). This reflects the philosophy of POLYCHAR to provide a an international forum to encourage young scientists and advanced students to present their scientific work and give them the opportunity to meet with colleagues and well-known scientists to discuss their results, exchange experiences, and make new contacts, in particular international ones. Many industrial contacts and international cooperations with exchange of students and scientists have resulted from this and earlier POLYCHAR meetings.


In the following we shall list the contents of the Course, some of the presentations, the award winners, new members of the POLYCHAR Scientific Committee and locations of POLYCHAR for the following 3 years.


The Course on Polymer Characterization has been integral part of POLYCHAR from the very beginning. It is held one the day before the Forum and provides basic information on important characterization techniques.  Students, newcomers to materials science and others take advantage of it. Well established researchers also find the Course useful - to get updated on recent developments outside of their own field. There were 119 enrolled participants, 78 of them students. The areas covered were: Liquid Chromatography (Dusan Berek, Bratislava), Tribology (Witold Brostow, Denton, TX), Integrated Rheology and Thermal Analysis (Abel Gaspar-Rosas, Rio de Janeiro), Determination of Polymer Structures by Light-, Neutron-, and X-Ray Scattering (Jean-Michel Guenet, Strasbourg), Viscoelastic and Dynamic-Mechanical Testing (Michael Hess, Essen), Electron Microscopy of Polymers (Goerg Michler, Halle), and Inorganic Polymers (Jean-Marc Saiter, Rouen). Then the instructors were available for questions and discussions during the entire Forum. Due to support by IUPAC Polymer Division, it was possible to cover the expenses for all hand-outs and to waive the fees for a fair number of students.


It is virtually impossible to make a selection from the multitude of excellent oral or poster presentations from universities, research institutes, and industry without overlooking important contributions. The conference program is available at . A few representative contributions (pars pro toto, but see also prizes below) are:

Eloisa Mano, IMA/UFRJ: Characterization of Natural Polymers

R.P. Singh, University of Lucknow: Flocculation Characteristics of Modified and Unmodified Chitosan

Jean-Michel Guenet, University of Strasbourg: Polymer-Solvent Molecular Compounds: The Case of Syndiotactic Polystyrene

Thein Kyu, University of Akron: Structure Development and Dynamics of Electrospinning from Polymer Solutions

Jean-Jaques Pireaux, University of Namur: Nano2hybrids: A New Class of Materials Combining Metal Nanoclusters and Carbon Nanotubes for Modern Gas Sensing Applications

Goerg H. Michler, Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg: Nanomechanical Effects in Layered Polymer Systems

Antonio M. Cunha, University do Minho, Guimarães: Nanofiber-Reinforced Polymeric Systems: Prediction of Strain Dependence of Properties

PETER E. MALLON, University of Stellenbosch: Surface Properties and Surface Modification of Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Copolymers Based on Poly(dimethyl siloxane)

Gregorio Meira, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe: Band Broadening in Size-Exclusion Chromatography of Polymers: Some Recent Developments

Moshe Narkis, Technion, Haifa: Development and Characterization of PANI/MWCNT Nanoconposites

Masaru Matsuo, Nara Women’s University: Structural Changes on Polyacrylonitrile Film by Catalytic Effects of Nickel Particles Under Carbonization Process

VERA KOVACEVIC, University of Zagreb: Effect of Nanoparticles on Structures and Properties of Multiphase Polymer Systems

RIMANTAS LEVINSKAS, Lithuanian Energy Institute, Kaunas: A Model of Mixtures of Powder Multifunctional Particles

MEHRDAD NEGAHBAN, University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Characterizing Polycarbonate under Large Strains and Rapid Loading

KATHARINA BRANDT, Deutsches Institut für Kautschuktechnologie, Hannover: Influence of Process Parameters on Viscoelastic Properties of NBR + Cellulose Nanocomposites Obtained by Dynamical Co-coagulation

DELLYO R.S. ALVAREZ, Petrobras, Rio de Janeiro: New Brazilian Petrochemical Ventures by Petrobras


POLYCHAR is also the platform for the prestigious Paul J. Flory Research Award  and - this year for the first time - for the International Materials Science Prize. The Flory Award went jointly to

Eloísa Mano, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, for her single-handedly creating some 30 years ago Polymer Science and Education in Brazil and later and now bringing it to the present flourishing state; and to

Jean-Marc Saiter, University of Rouen, for his contributions to our understanding the glassy state.


Dusan Berek, Polymer Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, was honored with the International Materials Science Prize for his imperturbably critical view on the limits of size exclusion chromatography, revealing many pitfalls of this popular technique and also for developing new methods of liquid chromatographic characterization of polymers. 


The Bruce Hartmann Award for young scientists (not older than 32 years) after a review and discussion by the POLYCHAR Prize Committee (Moshe Narkis, Technion, Haifa, Chair), went ex equo to:

Diana Costa, Coimbra University and University of Lund, for her oral presentation "Swelling of DNA Gels as a Function of DNA Conformation" and to

Tathiane C. RodrigueS, IMA/UFRJ, for her sequence of four posters dealing with Synthesis, Characterization, Properties and Processing of Layered Silica + HDPE Composites.


There were 3 IUPAC Student Poster Awards given ex aequo for the following presentations:

Gareth M. Bailey, University of Stellenbosch: "Investigation of Hybrid Block Copolymers by the Offline Coupling of Chromatographic Fractionation to Various Instruments used in Morphological Characterization" (Advisor: Peter E. Mallon)

Camila C. Dornelas, IMA/UFRJ: "Reactional Evaluation of Formation of PVP-Organophilic Montmorillonite Nanocomposites" (Advisor: Ailton de Sousa Gomes)

Haley E. Hagg Lobland, University of North Texas, Denton: "Flocculation of Iron Ore-Containing Suspensions" (Advisor: Witold Brostow)


The Carl Klason Award for the Best Student Paper was divided this year between 4 ex aequo winners (all oral presentations):

Mickael Arnauld, University of Rouen: "Influence of Crystallization on the Relaxation Mechanism at the Glass Transition of Polymers: Experiments and Computer Simulations" (Advisor: Jean-Marc Saiter)

Natalia Becerra, University of Antioquia, Medellin: "Synthesis and Characterization of Biocompatible Polymers to Support Oral Muscosal Cell Culture" (Advisor: Betty L. Lopez)

Gwenaelle Pound, University of Stellenbosch: "Complex Polymer Architectures from Poorly Stabilized Vinyl Monomers via RAFT-Process" (Advisor: Bert Klumperman)

Luis F. Giraldo, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin: "Reinforcement of Polyamide 6 with Nanoparticles" (Advisor: Betty L. Lopez)


Diplomas of Distinction for Student Presentations (this year for poster presentations):

Diego L. Franco, University of Ueberlandia: "Modified Electrodes with Polyaminophenols: Immobilization of Purines and Pyrimidines" (Advisor: João M. Madurro)

Maurício M. Borges, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte: "Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Sugar Branched Polymers" (Advisor: Rosangela B. Garcia)


During the Forum there was a meeting of the POLYCHAR Scientific Committee. 5 new Members have been elected - who have all since agreed to serve:


Andre Galembeck, Federal University of Pernambuco

Mehrdad Negahban, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Haydee M. Oliva, University of Zulia, Maracaibo

Marcelo Rabello, Federal University of Campina Grande

Miriam Strumia, National University of Cordoba


At the same meeting Goerg H. Michler, Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale and Merseburg, has been elected the new Chair of the POLYCHAR Prize Committee.


POLYCHAR 16 will be held at the University of Lucknow on February 17 - 21, 2008, organized by Prof. Ram Prakash Singh, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lucknow; The 16th Course will be organized by Prof. Veena Choudhary and Prof. Michael Hess, February 14th at the University of Delhi. The flight from Delhi to Lucknow takes 1 hour.

POLYCHAR 17 is scheduled in 2009 in Rouen (Jean-Marc Saiter, Chair of the Organizing Committee) and POLYCHAR 18 in 2010 in Bratislava  (Dusan Berek, Chair of the Organizing Committee).


Witold Brostow and Michael Hess

LAPOM, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of North Texas