Interface-Engineered Solid-Liquid Polymer Systems
Chipara, Alin Cristian
Ajayan, Pulickel M.
Doctor of Philosophy
This thesis explores the optimization and design of novel materials by engineering interfaces to impart novel mechanisms to polymer composites and multi-phase materials. By taking advantage of chemical and mechanical interactions it is possible to create materials with novel properties and unique mechanisms such as self-stiffening, self-healing, and adhesion. These properties arise due to large electronegativity differences which are repeated throughout the polymer chains which in turn give rise to strong macroscopic effects. The addition of a dynamic interface, an interface which can move and adapt under varying stress conditions, further enhances the unique properties of these materials. The composites discussed in this thesis were synthesized using a variety of techniques including thermal sonication/chemical synthesis, and mechanical synthesis. These novel composites were characterized using a myriad of techniques such as dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray computerized tomography (CT), in-situ scanning electron microscopy-based (SEM) mechanical testing, tensile testing (ADMET frame), SEM, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle (CA), optical microscopy, and qualitative testing.