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


In this thesis, we explore the degradation of poly (thioether acetal) thermosets via a photoinduced thiol-catalyzed ß-scission of acetal linkages incorporated as network crosslink junctions. Specifically, a library of bis-allyl acetal-containing monomers derived from para-substituted benzaldehydes was synthesized and formulated into photopolymerizable thiol-ene resins with commercially available thiol monomers. By varying the electron donating or withdrawing nature of the monomer substituent, we explored the impact of substituent effects on the rate of polymer degradation. Furthermore, we compare the results to those expected from a classical Hammett-type relationship of substituent electronic effects. FTIR was employed to track the appearance of the degradation byproducts and to establish degradation profiles of networks made with each monomer in our library. The ability to construct and deconstruct polymer thermosets using light as the stimulus as well the capability to tailor the rates at which these materials degrade suggests a variety of applications, including environmentally friendly commodity plastics.