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Small molecules can in a factory be connected to each other to form a long chain: a polymer. This way you can make plastics and rubber. To start this reaction, you need an initiator. This is a compound that splits in two, which allows it to react with a small molecule. The moment the initiator splits in two, there are follow-up reactions where heat and undesirable volatile substances arise. That is why I am looking for new and safe initiators. The first step in this search is to understand the chemical bond in this initiator. I do that by modelling molecules and reactions on the computer. I also look for the mechanism behind my findings. You could compare this to a clock you open up, to see how the cogs turn. If I know why and when a bond breaks, I can apply this knowledge. The goal is ultimately the production of new initiators that lead to a safe and clean production of rubber and plastics.

MODELLING MOLECULES ON THE COMPUTER
EVA BLOKKERPROFILE
VU Amsterdam

To make plastics, you need an initiator. That is a molecule that splits in two, allowing the chain reaction for the long chain of the plastic to start. But the initiators that are being used now release undesirable volatile substances and a lot of heat. Therefore, Eva is using computer simulations to look for new initiators.

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