Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Chair

James Rawlins

Committee Chair Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 2

Jeffrey Wiggins

Committee Member 2 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 3

Sarah Morgan

Committee Member 3 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Ready-to-use (RTU) grout is becoming more important to the finish and remodeling construction industry. Market research shows it is a fast-growing product that not only is creating its own space, but is beginning to supplant existing technology.

The original intent of this research was to investigate formulation parameters and how they affect grout performance. It was learned that particle size and oil absorption (OA) value are important filler properties that affect performance as much as adequate packing density and optimal pigment volume concentration (PVC) without going beyond critical PVC (CPVC).

Polymer architecture was also determined to be extremely important, but difficult to predict. Properties such as tensile strength and elongation can be adequately modeled by polymer Tg, however, Tg alone is not a good predictor of hydrophobicity or stain repellency performance.

This conundrum led to research into Hansen solubility parameters (HSP) and whether these could be used as performance predictive tools. Since HSP of polymers cannot be directly measured, Group Contribution Theory (GCT) had to be employed to estimate polymer HSP.

It was determined that HSP is not as good of a performance predictor for physical strength properties, like tensile strength, as polymer Tg: but HSP does have utility for relative performance prediction of wet state properties, such as hydrophobicity, stain repellency or solvent resistance. It was further discovered that HSP may be useful with predicting relative performance of wet state properties such as wet tensile strength and elongation.