Date of Award
Master of Science
Alexei Sokolov, Michael Best
Greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2 [carbon dioxide] has led to various climate-related phenomenon, such as rising global temperatures, changing weather patterns, and increases in ocean acidity. With this in mind, polymer membranes utilizing functionalized vinyl-added polynorbornenes have been synthesized and tested for gas separation performance in order to evaluate their efficacy as a CO2 capture method. Through the inclusion of pendant groups known to interact favorably with CO2 onto vinyl-added polynorbornenes, perturbations to the gas separation performance of their resultant films in a fundamental, systematic manner. It was observed that subtle changes in the polymer structure such as connectivity of its substituents can have enormous impacts on the separation performance. Additionally, other avenues were used to improve the characteristics of functionalized vinyl-added polynorbornenes, specially those bearing alkoxysilane pendant groups. In this, mechanical reinforcement was sought by incorporating cellulose nanocrystals in order to form composite materials. Through extensive mechanical testing, it was found that high cellulose nanocrystal content in the polymer matrix did indeed reinforce the material while also being well-dispersed, as evidenced by increases in the storage and Young’s modulus.
Higgins, Morgan, "Investigation of Substituted Vinyl-Added Polynorbornenes and Composite Materials. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2019.