The Mechanical And Thermal Characteristics Of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer – Essay Example

The paper "The Mechanical And Thermal Characteristics Of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer" is a worthy example of a chemistry essay. A molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) can be characterized as a polymer that forms from its corresponding monomers in the presence of a molecule that acts as a template and which is extracted after the polymer formation is complete. This type of formation leaves cavities behind that are complementary to the template molecule. Because such formation mechanisms can be found in enzymes or antibodies, molecularly imprinted polymers can also be called plastic antibodies.  MIP demonstrates excellent chemical and thermal stability. Thermal properties of these polymers are usually determined using a technique called differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This method is capable of detecting thermal transitions in polymer relaxation, including establishing glass transition temperature (Tg) and relaxation processes in MIP taking place at temperatures other than Tg. The relaxation transitions that take place below the bulk Tg are described using letters starting with β and are important for the understanding of motion at the imprinted site. High mechanical strength is one of the characteristics of a molecularly imprinted polymer. In order to increase these properties, cross-linkers are used. They serve a number of properties but one of them is to maintain or enhance the stability of the recognition sites. Usually, polymers with cross-link ratios of 80% are used. Because molecular imprinting is a fast developing area of science, there is a significant amount of cross-linkers specifically designed from molecular imprinting which have the ability to complex with the template and perform the functions of monomers. Hydrogels have been proven to be advantageous as drug delivery platforms. Being small in size (from 0.5 to 500 nm) hydrogel micro- and nanospheres can penetrate the cell tissue. They are also capable of regulating the release of drugs and target specific parts of the body (Sellergren 26).