Ms Beatrix Bernhardt

Research project: Synthesis and Properties of Novel Thermo-responsive Polymers for Water Purification


Thermoresponsive polymers dissolve and solidify (precipitate) at certain temperatures defined by their structure. At their lower critical solution temperature (LCST) such polymers undergo a phase transition to solid or gel form. Such transition gives a unique property to them which enables them to absorb and remove toxic materials such as heavy metals from contaminated water. 

The project aims to synthesise various thermoresponsive polymers, to complete the full characterisation of the polymers using analytical techniques such as NMR, IR, DSC and TGA, to assess their effectiveness in wastewater treatment by monitoring of pollutant uptake by ICP-OES, ICP-MS (metals) or GC-MS, UV, LC-MS (organics). Eventually, investigate the possible modified polymeric structures to optimise efficiency.


I am an MSc Analytical Chemistry postgrad alumnus from Kingston University. I am greatly interested in how polymers can be used for water purification. I believe widening this research area is not only beneficial for the polymer community, but for the water treatment industry nationally and internationally. I research the synthesis a thermo-responsive homo- and copolymers that can be used for water treatment. I am an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK and I regularly attend RSC, Waters, RSSL and Schrödinger webinars to keep myself up to date with contemporary Chemical Science developments...just not to be repetitive (...pardon the pun).

Areas of research interest

  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Green Chemistry


  • BSc Natural Sciences (Chemistry)
  • MSc Analytical Chemistry