The molecular weight distribution (MWD) of a polymer plays a dominant role in a polymer's properties, such as processability, strength, and elastic moduli, and is hence one of the most important characteristics determining the quality and applicability of a given polymeric product. Determination of the molecular weight distribution (MWD) of polymers generally requires separation of the sub-components by physical methods, such as chromatography, field flow fractionation, mass spectroscopy, or electrophoresis, usually after the polymer has been produced. The application of separation methods to industrial reaction environments has generally been unsuccessful.
Comprehensive monitoring of polymerization reactions, allowing process optimization, accelerating R&D of new polymeric materials, and potentially allowing fullscale reactor control.
The Reed lab works on developing technologies for polymer R&D which is complemented by their research in macromolecular characterization.