Semester of Graduation
Chemical and Biological Engineering
First Major Professor
Dr. Eric Cochran
Master of Engineering (MEngr)
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.
Kuehl, Baker, "Applications of Block-Copolymers for Bio-Plastics" (2019). Creative Components. 122.