Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Chemical and Biological Engineering

First Major Professor

Dr. Eric Cochran


Master of Engineering (MEngr)


Chemical Engineering


The presentation summarizes reasons for replacing Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a petroleum-based engineering thermoplastic, with a bio-renewable option. The replacement for the hard-block inside of ABS is Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA). PLLA has a very similar modulus to ABS but has no degree of toughness. PLLA being extremely brittle gave rise to the idea to synthesize blends of PLLA and Poly-n-Butyl Acrylate (pNBA) to create a toughened PLLA. A block-copolymer of PLLA and pNBA was synthesized in order to prevent macro phase separation of the blends. The block-copolymer allowed for the blends to create a polymer architecture with the goal of creating a micelle. The block-copolymer was synthesized by functionalizing the alcohol chain ends off the PLLA polymer and then attaching a chain transfer agent onto the chain. The chain transfer agent would then be used to undergo a reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerization to synthesize the diblock-Copolymer. After the synthesis, the blends were created, and mechanical properties were tested onto different blend compositions. The results of the mechanical properties showed PLLA was toughened using block-copolymers and was an impressive first step in replacing applications of ABS.

Copyright Owner

Baker Kuehl

File Format