Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Chair

Dr. Robson Storey

Committee Chair Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 2

Dr. Derek Patton

Committee Member 2 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 3

Dr. Jeffrey Wiggins

Committee Member 3 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Abstract

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are a class of polymer fit for a wide variety of applications due to their customizability. In the synthesis of these types of materials, an elastically-performing polymer, deemed the “soft block,” is combined with a stiffer “hard block” polymer, each of which can be selected based on their own specific properties in order to achieve desired material behavior in the final copolymer. Recently, the use of polyisobutylene as a soft block in combination with a polyamide hard block has been investigated for use in TPE synthesis. While the material showed some promising behavior, many properties were still below those of the commercially standard TPE material Pebax.

Polyisobutylene and polyamide samples of varying molecular weights and types were synthesized and combined in different ratios to form a variety of polyisobutylene-block-polyamide (PIB-PA) samples. Mechanical stirring as opposed to magnetic mixing and an increase in the soft block component of the copolymer were the most important adjustments made from previous PIB-PA syntheses. The effect of overall block length and the incorporation of a wider variety of polyamide (PA) types were also investigated.

Mechanical stirring allowed for the achievement of higher molecular weights, and use of PA-6,6 as a hard block also produced a TPE with a markedly higher melting point than previously witnessed. Increasing the PIB content as well as using longer blocks of both precursors produced tougher copolymers, allowing them to undergo more mechanical deformation before failure as compared to previous PIB-PA formulations.

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