Materials Today is delighted to announce that Professor Chi Wu from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Dr Lianwei Li from the University of Science and Technology of China have won the 2013 Feng Xinde Polymer Prize, which is awarded by the journal Polymer. The prize, which is sponsored by Elsevier, gives special recognition to Chinese authors of the most meritorious paper published in the journal in the previous year; and was awarded to Wu and Li for their paper on “Unified description of transportation of polymer chains with different topologies through a small cylindrical pore” [Polymer 55 (5), 1463-1465].

The research for the winning article began with a study of linear polymer chains, where the team was able to confirm for the first time that the coil-to-stretch transition under an elongation flow field is a first-order transition and that the critical (minimum) flow rate for a linear chain to pass through a cylindrical pore is independent of the chain length. Their results demonstrated that the critical flow rate decreases as the diameter of the pore increases. Further research using star-shaped chains with different arm numbers and lengths demonstrated how the critical flow rate varies with the number of arms on the star chain.

The Prize has been conferred annually since 2006, and was named in honor of Dr. Feng Xinde, who contributed significantly to the creation and development of modern polymer chemistry in China. In the late 1940s, Dr Xinde became the first professor in the country to offer a course on polymer chemistry, and he also supported the development of polymer science through the organization of meetings and symposia involving both Chinese and foreign scientists.

The Prize comprises a certificate and a medal for the author of the winning paper, as well as a US$1,000 cash award. The authors of the seven other nominated papers also receive a nomination certificate and medal, with the prize-giving ceremony taking place at the 11th International Symposium on Polymer Physics in Nanjing, China on June 8–12, 2014.

Beyond characterizing flow rates, the researchers were also able to separate polymer chains by their topologies, rather than by their size, paving the way for analytical instruments capable of separating and characterizing polymer chains with different shapes.

To access the winning article, please click here.