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DYNACOP (DYNamics of Architecturally Complex Polymers) is a new 7th Framework Marie Curie Initial Training Network, involving ten universities and two industrial companies across Europe.
The scientific objective of DYNACOP is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the flow behaviour and the dynamics of blends of topologically complex macromolecular fluids and their role in processing and properties of nano-structured blends. These materials exhibit complex dynamics and rheology and, in many cases, show hierarchical relaxation over many different timescales. This in turn affects the processing and properties of the final materials. Such fluids include branched low density polyethylene, which is a fundamental material that appears in plastics of all forms. The processing of these materials, and the relation to properties, has frustrated and encouraged industry for many years: a simple recurring problem is instability in extrusion that leads to imperfect plastic parts, and with costly results. The ability to predict and control this behaviour as a function of molecular chemistry has attracted a long history of collaboration between academia and industry, including the partners of DYNACOP.
In order to rationally design appropriate materials and processes for various technological applications, a rigorous, knowledge based approach is needed. This is especially urgent in the face of current opportunities offered by tailored molecular engineering of polymers at the industrial scale, and the proposed use of these materials in nano-structured composites for smart applications in devices, electronics, and high performance applications. The training objective of the ITN is to provide young post-doctoral researchers with the necessary interdisciplinary knowledge and experience in the field of soft materials properties, much needed throughout Europe, which will allow them to address some of the many scientific and technological challenges in the field. This will first and foremost be achieved through a collaborative research program and portfolio of training courses intimately linking industry and academia. To ensure fruitful collaborations, the participating research groups will work around a limited number of model systems; exchange the samples, and apply to them the techniques and/or theoretical approaches developed in the different laboratories. The research groups are selected to obtain the needed synergy, as they have different backgrounds/expertise, in physics, chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science. Very high profile international visiting scientist will bring their expertise to Europe to participate in the training and research.