Photochemical Modification of Polymeric Materials and the Polarization of Light in Ionomeric Guest/Host Systems


Bo Pan

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Robert B. Moore

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Photochemical methods were introduced to develop important extrusion processes, through which polymers can either be functionalized or modified by altering molecular weight characteristics. Therefore, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) incorporated with a small amount of light-reactive functional groups was synthesized. These functional groups can be activated by UV irradiation in a post extrusion process to produce high molecular weight polymer and/or crosslinked polymer. Environmental stress cracking resistance of these polymers was examined and correlated to damping using dynamic mechanic analysis. To improve industrial reactive extrusion process of preparing maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAR-g-PP), photografting was proposed and studied. Using benzophenone (BP) as the initiator, grafting efficiency was significantly improved compared to peroxide initiated grafting. Moreover, nearly constant conversion of maleic anhydride was observed in photografting. The high efficiency of benzophenone initiated photografting was attributed to the formation of the excited triplet state maleic anhydride. A rate constant of 6.0*109 M-1 *sec-1 for the quenching of triplet state BP with MAH was obtained using laser photolysis by the triplet state BP molecules has a rate constant of 4.1*105 M-1 *sec-1 . In solution grafting with the use of benzene as the solvent, a facile triplet state energy transfer process may also occur leading to the formation of the excited triplet state MAH. Spectroscopic methods involving light were also used for the study of the guest-host interactions in polymer systems. The use of ionomers as the matrix for the oriented guest/host systems, cationic dye systems in particular, was shown to enhance polarization efficiency as well as dye uptake as comparing to conventional polymers, such as poly(vinyl alcohol). It was found that the dye molecules in carboxylated EVOH (EVOH-COONa) have higher degree of orientation than in EVOH, while polymer chain orientation is quite similar in these two polymers. The difference in the dye orientation was attributed to the ion-ion interactions between dye molecules and carboxylate groups of the modified polymer.