National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Prof. Bert Klumperman

Solving problems through polymer chemistry

“Most people will know polymers from plastic bags or plastic toys, but it is so much more than that,” says Prof Bert Klumperman, Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University and winner of the 2015/2016 NSTF-South32 Lifetime Award. Considered a world leader in polymer chemistry, Klumperman’s work includes investigating nano-structured materials for biomedical applications.

According to the American Chemical Society, “polymer chemists study large, complex molecules (polymers) that are built up from many smaller (sometimes repeating) units. They study how the smaller building blocks (monomers) combine, and create useful materials with specific characteristics by manipulating the molecular structure of the monomers/polymers used, the composition of the monomer/polymer combinations, and applying chemical and processing techniques that can, to a large extent, affect the properties of the final product.”

“There is a very creative and exciting aspect to my work. You encounter a problem, such as a new way to deliver drugs into the body, and then you design a molecule that helps solve the problem,” Klumperman says.  Read more.

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