Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

James Rawlins

Second Advisor

Sharathkumar Mendon


Polymeric materials make such a significant contributor to the success of the coatings industry that significant amounts of time and money are spent in search of improving their performance and providing distinction between the products of different companies. While polymeric binders in coatings have traditionally been derived from petroleum products, an alternative has been proposed by the Thames-Rawlins Research Group at The University of Southern Mississippi in the form of a soybean oil derived polymer precursor (monomer), SoyAM-1. A series of latexes with and without SoyAM-1were synthesized and cast in silicon molds to yield bars appropriate for tensile testing. Using the MTS® equipment, stress-strain curves were generated and processed for mechanical properties. Data analysis indicated general trends that will assist in the synthesis of future polymers as well as the formulation of coatings from the latexes. Beyond our research group, the data will serve as a confirmation of the applicability of soybean oil derived monomers in formulating mechanically stable, high performance coatings. For a society attempting to alter their environmental impact, these sustainable materials offer an economically feasible, even beneficial to Mississippi and the US as a whole, alternative to the petroleum products that currently control the market. Thus, the goal of this project was to characterize the performance of VOMM latexes against commercial latexes via mechanical analysis, and relate the results to the VOMM content. The hypothesis of this research was that if we optimized morphology control over latex particles with sustainable monomer and polymer combinations, then a broader range of properties can be developed from the same narrow material combinations, because these zero volatile organic compound (VOC) materials form excellent films.

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