The Robb group performs research at the intersection of synthetic organic, physical organic, and polymer chemistry. Research in the Robb group is focused on the emerging area of polymer mechanochemistry, where mechanical force is used to activate productive chemical transformations in stress-responsive molecules known as mechanophores. We use computationally guided experimental methods to develop new mechanophores and strategies that enable access to innovative stimuli-responsive polymers. Ultimately, we seek to develop chemistry that provides new insight into structure-mechanochemical activity relationships and apply these advancements in fundamental understanding to create force-responsive polymers that address a wide variety of materials challenges. Check out the Publications page for our latest research.
As an example, naphthopyran is a recently developed mechanochromic (color-changing) mechanophore that is useful for the visual detection of stress in polymeric materials (see the scheme and video below).
Mechanochemical Activation of Naphthopyran in PDMS