Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Derek L. Patton, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Current dental restoration materials fall short in adhesion and often pull away from the surface of the tooth upon curing. This project seeks to design polymers that can adhere to wet, heterogeneous surfaces as potential materials for dental restoration applications. The goal of this project is to mimic the structure and adhesive properties of natural adhesives containing 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (DOPA). We will synthesize mono- and di-functional DOPA derivatives with catechol functionality and investigate their adhesion compared to their non-catechol-containing alternative through incorporation into a model thiol-ene photopolymerization. Functional group conversion, real time kinetics, and adhesion data will be used to analyze these materials. Successful completion of this study may provide improved understanding of the design parameters necessary to achieve wet adhesion to dental surfaces, and may provide a new route for the development of dental restoration composites that result in reduced delamination at the composite-tooth interface and ultimately lower failure rates.