In the field of polymer science research, Kao has employed a combination of surface chemistry and polymer synthesis technologies to create many unique materials, such as surface-active polymers and surface-modified polymers, and also hydrogels.
Among surface-active polymers, "Elastomer OS" is an amphipathic polymer in which hydrophobic silicone and hydrophilic polyoxazoline are combined. Amphiphilic polymers have affinity with both water and oil. As a result, by changing the ratio and molecular weights of silicone and polyoxazoline, rubber (elastomer) that dissolves in alcohol or silicone oil can be obtained. Such rubber functions as a flexible film that can softly bond hair fibers to each other, thus is applied as a hair styling product and supports a pleasant life.
In addition, surface-modified polymers can be used to produce characteristic materials. Kao has developed an "antifouling polymer" that has both super hydrophilic and high adsorbent units on the target surface. By simply applying this aqueous polymer solution to the surface of a substance, it can be transformed into a super hydrophilic surface. As a result, even when dirt becomes adhered to the surface, that can be quite easily removed by simply running water over it. This technology contributes to reducing the burden of cleaning, as well as the amounts of cleaning agent and water utilized.
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