• Name: Courtney Jenkins, Ph.D.
  • Institution: Idaho State University
  • Department: Chemistry
  • Phone: 208-282-3734
  • Email: jenkcour@isu.edu

Summary: The Jenkins group focuses on creating sulfur-based polymers through a process called inverse vulcanization. Elemental sulfur is a waste product generated during the purification of petroleum. Sulfur can be combined with a variety of monomers including many renewable monomers in a solvent-free synthesis to form inexpensive polymers. These materials can be used for a variety of applications including as adhesives and heavy metal sorbents.

Minimum classes: General chemistry, organic chemistry preferred

Projects: Each project will begin by synthesizing polysulfides. One project will focus on determining how the incorporation of different monomers impacts the solubility and swelling of these polymers. The ultimate goal would be to develop modifiable hydrogels to use to study bacterial growth. A second project will incorporate renewable monomers to develop biomimetic adhesives. Each project will involve studying the chemical and physical properties of these polymers to determine how factors such as the structure and polymer chain length impact the materials’ function

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