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Professor Ron D. Sanderson

Office: 205 Polymer Science Building
Phone: +27 (0)21 808-3163
Fax: +27 (0)21 808-4967

Educational Background:
PhD, Akron University (USA), 1969

1988: Awarded Centre of Expertise for Membrane Studies status by Water Research Commission.
1989: William Sage Award of the Plastic and Rubber Institute, SA
1993: Chemical Manufacturer's Association Award (shared with Dr. E.P. Jacobs). (Best academic contribution to industry – 1992).
1997: Awarded the International UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials by UNESCO.
1998: Awarded Centre of Excellence for Polymer Science status by
2005: WISA-MTD Honorary Award in full recognition of his role to advance and support membrane science and technology in the RSA.

Research Emphasis:
Polymerisation, nanoparticles, nanofibres, membranes

analitical chemistry
Analytical Chemistry

chemical chemistry Chemical Biology

inorganic chemistry Inorganic Chemistry

organic chemistry Organic Chemistry

physical chemistry Physical Chemistry

polymer science Polymer Science

supramolecular chemistry & materialsSupra- molecular Chemistry
& Materials

Research Summary:
Macromolecular engineering of thin films/membranes.

Research Description:
The major drive is for molecular engineering creating polymer structures fit for purpose. The major chemistry used is free radical, but this is often combined with condensation and other techniques to prepare monomers, catalysts, initiators or soaps needed to create the polymer or colloid.

Characterisation of products needs a knowledge of most characterisation techniques.

When creating a polymer fit for purpose, it is often necessary to concentrate on mechanisms of the process used by the industry or of the fit for purpose product, its action in the process used by industry. In order to fulfil this mechanistic study, we often create well defined products, often too expensive for commercialisation, but ideal in discovering the parameters in terms of molecular architecture required for optimising the final product.

When going for a final product one normally looks towards the medium the polymer is in or the medium the polymer creates. Polymers themselves are in fact nanomaterials, and many of the products that are fit for purpose are nano-assemblies of polymers (emulsions, colloids). Effort has also been extended to characterising and understanding these nanoeffects resulting from molecular engineering.

In making improved products for the industrial need, the new trend is that other nano particles are often introduced into the nanopolymer regime. For instance, we have succeeded in exfoliating nanoclay platelets in emulsion, have used nanomagnets to prepare better controlled architectures where the nanomagnets separate only the wished for species from those that do not have the required functionality.

All this work aims at nano and thin polymer films where these polymer films have enhanced properties where they differentiate in solubility and diffusion of various liquids and gasses. In this way membranes are aimed to desalt water, yet are resistant to chlorine, or membranes are resistant to water and gasses, or membranes are resistant to oils and greases but will pass some water.
The industries that are interested are those that provide water to all South Africans, the paper industry for its effluents and paper making and other coatings industries.


Selected Publications:

  • Sanderson RD, Li J, Hallbauer DK, Sikder SK. Fourier wavelets from ultrasonic spectra: A new approach for detecting the onset of fouling during microfiltration of paper mill effluent. Environmental Science and Technology 39 (2005) 7299-7305.
  • Sikder SK, Mbanjwa MB, Keuler DA, McLachlan DS, Reineke FJ, Sanderson RD. Visualisation of fouling during microfiltration of natural brown water by using wavelets of ultrasonic spectra. Journal of Membrane Science 271 (2006) 125-139.
  • Barner-Kowollik C, Buback M, Charleux B, Coote ML, Drache M, Fukuda T, Goto A, Klumperman B, Lowe AB, McLeary JB, Moad G, Monteiro MJ, Sanderson RD, Tonge MP, Vana P. Mechanism and kinetics of dithiobenzoate-mediated RAFT polymerization. I. The current situation. Journal of Polymer Science: Part A: Polymer Chemistry 44 (2006) 5809-5831.
  • Mathawa H, McLeary JB, Sanderson RD. Comparative study of classical surfactants and polymerizable surfactants (surfmers) in the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer mediated miniemulsion polymerization of styrene and methyl methacrylate. Journal of Polymer Science: Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 44 (2006) 427-442.
  • Samakande A, Hartmann PC, Sanderson RD. Synthesis and characterization of new cationic quaternary ammonium polymerizable surfactants. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 296 (2006) 316-323.
  • Smit E, Buttner U, Sanderson RD. Continuous yarns from electrospun fibres. Polymer 46 (2005) 2419-2423.
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