Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Chair

Sarah Morgan

Committee Chair Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 2

Robert Lochhead

Committee Member 2 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Committee Member 3

Daniel Savin

Committee Member 3 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


The stimuli-responsive adsorption of polyelectrolytes to biosurfaces provides an important vehicle for development of protective coatings, delivery of therapeutic agents, and cosmetic applications. Developing a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms and kinetics of adsorption/desorption processes of polymeric systems to biological surfaces is of critical importance in predicting performance and designing new formulations. This study describes quartz crystal microbalance and atomic force microscopy analysis of a poly(methyl vinyl ether-alt-maleic anhydride) copolymer (Gantrez® S97 BF) adsorption on dental mimicking surfaces to determine properties including thickness, morphology, viscoelasticy, and rate of adsorption/desorption of the polymer layer as a function of solution environment. A nanoscopically smooth model dental surface was developed for AFM analysis of the adsorbed thin film. Polymer structural and solution factors controlling kinetics of adsorption and the adhesion properties on simulated hydroxyapatite (HAp) surfaces are elucidated.

The second part of the thesis focuses on the evaluation of a novel oil spill dispersant with anti-deposition capabilities. The dispersing agent is largely comprised of hydroxypropyl cellulose and lecithin, agriculturally derived chemicals commonly used in the food industry. Spilled or leaked oil is a continued threat to the environment and wildlife. Though dispersants are commonly used to combat oil spills in the hope of using them to mitigate the effects of oil on land and wildlife, the challenge of preventing redeposition of the oil onto these substrates still exists, and there are concerns with the biocompatibility of current commercial dispersant formulations. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) was employed to investigate the interactions of the polymer dispersants on model natural surfaces. AFM was used to investigate the morphology of films after deposition on the model surfaces. Mechanisms and kinetics of the adsorption and desorption processes of the anti-redeposition polymer formulation are described.