Matching Items (11)

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Targeting Tumors: Inclusion of Functional Groups on Ion-Containing Block Copolymers to Combat Cancer

Description

This research attempts to determine the most effective method of synthesizing a peptide such that it can be utilized as a targeting moiety for polymeric micelles. Two melanoma-associated peptides with

This research attempts to determine the most effective method of synthesizing a peptide such that it can be utilized as a targeting moiety for polymeric micelles. Two melanoma-associated peptides with high in vitro and in vivo binding affinity for TNF receptors have been identified and synthesized. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-ToF) was used to help verify the structure of both peptides, which were purified using Reversed-Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC). The next steps in the research are to attach the peptides to a micelle and determine their impact on micelle stability.

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  • 2016-05

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Environmentally responsive hydrogels: development and integration with hard materials

Description

Environmentally responsive hydrogels are one interesting class of soft materials. Due to their remarkable responsiveness to stimuli such as temperature, pH, or light, they have attracted widespread attention in many

Environmentally responsive hydrogels are one interesting class of soft materials. Due to their remarkable responsiveness to stimuli such as temperature, pH, or light, they have attracted widespread attention in many fields. However, certain functionality of these materials alone is often limited in comparison to other materials such as silicon; thus, there is a need to integrate soft and hard materials for the advancement of environmental-ly responsive materials.

Conventional hydrogels lack good mechanical properties and have inherently slow response time, important characteristics which must be improved before the hydrogels can be integrated with silicon. In the present dissertation work, both these important attrib-utes of a temperature responsive hydrogel, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm), were improved by adopting a low temperature polymerization process and adding a sili-cate compound, tetramethyl orthosilicate. Furthermore, the transition temperature was modulated by adjusting the media quality in which the hydrogels were equilibrated, e.g. by adding a co-solvent (methanol) or an anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate). In-terestingly, the results revealed that, based on the hydrogels’ porosity, there were appre-ciable differences when the PNIPAAm hydrogels interacted with the media molecules.

Next, an adhesion mechanism was developed in order to transfer silicon thin film onto the hydrogel surface. This integration provided a means of mechanical buckling of the thin silicon film due to changes in environmental stimuli (e.g., temperature, pH). We also investigated how novel transfer printing techniques could be used to generate pat-terned deformation of silicon thin film when integrated on a planar hydrogel substrate. Furthermore, we explore multilayer hybrid hydrogel structures formed by the integration of different types of hydrogels that have tunable curvatures under the influence of differ-ent stimuli. Silicon thin film integration on such tunable curvature substrates reveal char-acteristic reversible buckling of the thin film in the presence of multiple stimuli.

Finally, different approaches of incorporating visible light response in PNIPAAm are discussed. Specifically, a chemical chromophore- spirobenzopyran was synthesized and integrated through chemical cross-linking into the PNIPAAm hydrogels. Further, methods of improving the light response and mechanical properties were also demonstrat-ed. Interestingly, such a system was shown to have potential application as light modulated topography altering system

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Assessment and solutions for waste handling of compostable biopolymers

Description

Fossil resources have enabled the development of the plastic industry in the last century. More recently biopolymers have been making gains in the global plastics market. Biopolymers are plastics derived

Fossil resources have enabled the development of the plastic industry in the last century. More recently biopolymers have been making gains in the global plastics market. Biopolymers are plastics derived from plants, primarily corn, which can function very similarly to fossil based plastics. One difference between some of the dominant biopolymers, namely polylactic acid and thermoplastic starch, and the most common fossil-based plastics is the feature of compostability. This means that biopolymers represent not only a shift from petroleum and natural gas to agricultural resources but also that these plastics have potentially different impacts resulting from alternative disposal routes. The current end of life material flows are not well understood since waste streams vary widely based on regional availability of end of life treatments and the role that decision making has on waste identification and disposal.

This dissertation is focused on highlighting the importance of end of life on the life-cycle of biopolymers, identifying how compostable biopolymer products are entering waste streams, improving collection and waste processing, and quantifying the impacts that result from the disposal of biopolymers. Biopolymers, while somewhat available to residential consumers, are primarily being used by various food service organizations trying to achieve a variety of goals such as zero waste, green advertising, and providing more consumer options. While compostable biopolymers may be able to help reduce wastes to landfill they do result in environmental tradeoffs associated with agriculture during the production phase. Biopolymers may improve the management for compostable waste streams by enabling streamlined services and reducing non-compostable fossil-based plastic contamination. The concerns about incomplete degradation of biopolymers in composting facilities may be ameliorated using alkaline amendments sourced from waste streams of other industries. While recycling still yields major benefits for traditional resins, bio-based equivalents may provide addition benefits and compostable biopolymers offer benefits with regards to global warming and fossil fuel depletion. The research presented here represents two published studies, two studies which have been accepted for publication, and a life-cycle assessment that will be submitted for publication.

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  • 2015

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Multiscale Modeling of Structure-Property Relationships in Polymers with Heterogenous Structure

Description

The exceptional mechanical properties of polymers with heterogeneous structure, such as the high toughness of polyethylene and the excellent blast-protection capability of polyurea, are strongly related to their morphology and

The exceptional mechanical properties of polymers with heterogeneous structure, such as the high toughness of polyethylene and the excellent blast-protection capability of polyurea, are strongly related to their morphology and nanoscale structure. Different polymer microstructures, such as semicrystalline morphology and segregated nanophases, lead to coordinated molecular motions during deformation in order to preserve compatibility between the different material phases. To study molecular relaxation in polyethylene, a coarse-grained model of polyethylene was calibrated to match the local structural variable distributions sampled from supercooled atomistic melts. The coarse-grained model accurately reproduces structural properties, e.g., the local structure of both the amorphous and crystalline phases, and thermal properties, e.g., glass transition and melt temperatures, and dynamic properties: including the vastly different relaxation time scales of the amorphous and crystalline phases. A hybrid Monte Carlo routine was developed to generate realistic semicrystalline configurations of polyethylene. The generated systems accurately predict the activation energy of the alpha relaxation process within the crystalline phase. Furthermore, the models show that connectivity to long chain segments in the amorphous phase increases the energy barrier for chain slip within crystalline phase. This prediction can guide the development of tougher semicrystalline polymers by providing a fundamental understanding of how nanoscale morphology contributes to chain mobility. In a different study, the macroscopic shock response of polyurea, a phase segregated copolymer, was analyzed using density functional theory (DFT) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and classical MD simulations. The two models predict the shock response consistently up to shock pressures of 15 GPa, beyond which the DFT-based simulations predict a softer response. From the DFT simulations, an analysis of bond scission was performed as a first step in developing a more fundamental understanding of how shock induced material transformations effect the shock response and pressure dependent strength of polyurea subjected to extreme shocks.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Determining the molecular structure of animal silks and related peptide mimics

Description

An animal's ability to produce protein-based silk materials has evolved independently in many different arthropod lineages, satisfying various ecological necessities. However, regardless of their wide range of uses and their

An animal's ability to produce protein-based silk materials has evolved independently in many different arthropod lineages, satisfying various ecological necessities. However, regardless of their wide range of uses and their potential industrial and biomedical applications, advanced knowledge on the molecular structure of silk biopolymers is largely limited to those produced by spiders (order Araneae) and silkworms (order Lepidoptera). This thesis provides an in-depth molecular-level characterization of silk fibers produced by two vastly different insects: the caddisfly larvae (order Trichoptera) and the webspinner (order Embioptera).

The molecular structure of caddisfly larval silk from the species Hesperophylax consimilis was characterized using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ss-NMR) and Wide Angle X-ray Diffraction (WAXD) techniques. This insect, which typically dwells in freshwater riverbeds and streams, uses silk fibers as a strong and sticky nanoadhesive material to construct cocoons and cases out available debris. Conformation-sensitive 13C chemical shifts and 31P chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) information strongly support a unique protein motif in which phosphorylated serine- rich repeats (pSX)4 complex with di- and trivalent cations to form rigid nanocrystalline β-sheets. Additionally, it is illustrated through 31P NMR and WAXD data that these nanocrystalline structures can be reversibly formed, and depend entirely on the presence of the stabilizing cations.

Nanofiber silks produced by webspinners (order Embioptera) were also studied herein. This work addresses discrepancies in the literature regarding fiber diameters and tensile properties, revealing that the nanofibers are about 100 nm in diameter, and are stronger (around 500 MPa mean ultimate stress) than previous works suggested. Fourier-transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), NMR and WAXD results find that approximately 70% of the highly repetitive glycine- and serine-rich protein core is composed of β-sheet nanocrystalline structures. In addition, FT-IR and Gas-chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) data revealed a hydrophobic surface coating rich in long-chain lipids. The effect of this surface coating was studied with contact angle techniques; it is shown that the silk sheets are extremely hydrophobic, yet due to the microstructural and nanostructural details of the silk surface, are surprisingly adhesive to water.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Stimuli Responsive Barrier Materials for Breathable, Chemically-Protective Wearable Fabrics

Description

As experiencing hot months and thermal stresses is becoming more common, chemically protective fabrics must adapt and provide protections while reducing the heat stress to the body. These concerns affect

As experiencing hot months and thermal stresses is becoming more common, chemically protective fabrics must adapt and provide protections while reducing the heat stress to the body. These concerns affect first responders, warfighters, and workers regularly surrounded by hazardous chemical agents. While adapting traditional garments with cooling devices provides one route to mitigate this issue, these cooling methods add bulk, are time limited, and may not be applicable in locations without logistical support. Here I take inspiration from nature to guide the development of smart fabrics that have high breathability, but self-seal on exposure to target chemical(s), providing a better balance between cooling and protection.

Natural barrier materials were explored as a guide, focusing specifically on prickly pear cacti. These cacti have a natural waxy barrier that provides protection from dehydration and physically changes shape to modify surface wettability and water vapor transport. The results of this study provided a basis for a shape changing polymer to be used to respond directly to hazardous chemicals, swelling to contain the agent.

To create a stimuli responsive material, a novel superabsorbent polymer was synthesized, based on acrylamide chemistry. The polymer was tested for swelling properties in a wide range of organic liquids and found to highly swell in moderately polar organic liquids. To help predict swelling in untested liquids, the swelling of multiple test liquids were compared with their thermodynamic properties to observe trends. As the smart fabric needs to remain breathable to allow evaporative cooling, while retaining functionality when soaked with sweat, absorption of water, as well as that of an absorbing liquid in the presence of water were tested.

Micron sized particles of the developed polymer were deposited on a plastic mesh with pore size and open area similar to common clothing fabric to establish the proof of concept of using a breathable barrier to provide chemical protection. The polymer coated mesh showed minimal additional resistance to water vapor transport, relative to the mesh alone, but blocked more than 99% of a xylene aerosol from penetrating the barrier.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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The Influence of Water Content and Water Dose on Adhesion of Solar Module Interfaces

Description

Delamination of solar module interfaces often occurs in field-tested solar modules after decades of service due to environmental stressors such as humidity. In the presence of water, the interfaces between

Delamination of solar module interfaces often occurs in field-tested solar modules after decades of service due to environmental stressors such as humidity. In the presence of water, the interfaces between the encapsulant and the cell, glass, and backsheet all experience losses of adhesion, exposing the module to accelerated degradation. Understanding the relation between interfacial adhesion and water content inside photovoltaic modules can help mitigate detrimental power losses. Water content measurements via water reflectometry detection combined with 180° peel tests were used to study adhesion of module materials exposed to damp heat and dry heat conditions. The effect of temperature, cumulative water dose, and water content on interfacial adhesion between ethylene vinyl acetate and (1) glass, (2) front of the cell, and (3) backsheet was studied. Temperature and time decreased adhesion at all these interfaces. Water content in the sample during the measurement showed significant decreases in adhesion for the Backsheet/Ethylene vinyl acetate interface. Water dose showed little effect for the Glass/ Ethylene vinyl acetate and Backsheet/ Ethylene vinyl acetate interfaces, but there was significant adhesion loss with water dose at the front cell busbar/encapsulant interface. Initial tensile test results to monitor the effects of the mechanical properties ethylene vinyl acetate and backsheet showed water content increasing the strength of ethylene vinyl acetate during plastic deformation but no change in the strength of the backsheet properties. This mechanical property change is likely inducing variation along the peel interface to possibly convolute the adhesion measurements conducted or to explain the variation seen for the water saturated and dried peel test sample types.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Synthesis and characterization of an ionomer for zinc-air battery cathodes

Description

The work presented in this thesis covers the synthesis and characterization of an ionomer that is applicable to zinc-air batteries. Polysulfone polymer is first chloromethylated and then quaternized to create

The work presented in this thesis covers the synthesis and characterization of an ionomer that is applicable to zinc-air batteries. Polysulfone polymer is first chloromethylated and then quaternized to create an ion-conducting polymer. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra indicates that the degree of chloromethylation was 114%. The chemical and physical properties that were investigated include: the ionic conductivity, ion exchange capacity, water retention capacity, diameter and thickness swelling ratios, porosity, glass transition temperature, ionic conductivity enhanced by free salt addition, and the concentration and diffusivity of oxygen within the ionomer. It was found that the fully hydrated hydroxide form of the ionomer had a room temperature ionic conductivity of 39.92mS/cm while the chloride form had a room temperature ionic conductivity of 11.80mS/cm. The ion exchange capacity of the ionomer was found to be 1.022mmol/g. The water retention capacity (WRC) of the hydroxide form was found to be 172.6% while the chloride form had a WRC of 67.9%. The hydroxide form of the ionomer had a diameter swelling ratio of 34% and a thickness swelling ratio of 55%. The chloride form had a diameter swelling ratio of 32% and a thickness swelling ratio of 28%. The largest pore size in the ionomer was found to be 32.6nm in diameter. The glass transition temperature of the ionomer is speculated to be 344°C. A definite measurement could not be made. The room temperature ionic conductivity at 50% relative humidity was improved to 12.90mS/cm with the addition of 80% free salt. The concentration and diffusivity of oxygen in the ionomer was found to be 1.3 ±0.2mMol and (0.49 ±0.15)x10-5 cm2/s respectively. The ionomer synthesized in this research had material properties and performance that is comparable to other ionomers reported in the literature. This is an indication that this ionomer is suitable for further study and integration into a zinc-air battery. This thesis is concluded with suggestions for future research that is focused on improving the performance of the ionomer as well as improving the methodology.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Development and characterization of gas diffusion layer using carbon slurry dispersed by ammonium lauryl sulfate for proton exchange member fuel cells

Description

Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) are a critical and essential part of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). They carry out various important functions such as transportation of reactants to and

Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) are a critical and essential part of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). They carry out various important functions such as transportation of reactants to and from the reaction sites. The material properties and structural characteristics of the substrate and the microporous layer strongly influence fuel cell performance. The microporous layer of the GDLs was fabricated with the carbon slurry dispersed in water containing ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) using the wire rod coating method. GDLs were fabricated with different materials to compose the microporous layer and evaluated the effects on PEMFC power output performance. The consistency of the carbon slurry was achieved by adding 25 wt. % of PTFE, a binding agent with a 75:25 ratio of carbon (Pureblack and vapor grown carbon fiber). The GDLs were investigated in PEMFC under various relative humidity (RH) conditions using H2/O2 and H2/Air. GDLs were also fabricated with the carbon slurry dispersed in water containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) based for fuel cell performance comparison. MWCNTs and SDS exhibits the highest performance at 60% and 70% RH with a peak power density of 1100 mW.cm-2 and 850 mW.cm-2 using air and oxygen as an oxidant. This means that the gas diffusion characteristics of these two samples were optimum at 60 and 70 % RH with high limiting current density range. It was also found that the composition of the carbon slurry, specifically ALS concentration has the highest peak power density of 1300 and 500mW.cm-2 for both H2/O2 and H2/Air at 100% RH. However, SDS and MWCNTs demonstrates the lowest power density using air and oxygen as an oxidants at 100% RH.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Temperature-responsive hydrogels with controlled water content and their development toward drug delivery and embolization applications

Description

Aqueous solutions of temperature-responsive copolymers based on N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) hold promise for medical applications because they can be delivered as liquids and quickly form gels in the body without organic

Aqueous solutions of temperature-responsive copolymers based on N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) hold promise for medical applications because they can be delivered as liquids and quickly form gels in the body without organic solvents or chemical reaction. However, their gelation is often followed by phase-separation and shrinking. Gel shrinking and water loss is a major limitation to using NIPAAm-based gels for nearly any biomedical application. In this work, a graft copolymer design was used to synthesize polymers which combine the convenient injectability of poly(NIPAAm) with gel water content controlled by hydrophilic side-chain grafts based on Jeffamine® M-1000 acrylamide (JAAm). The first segment of this work describes the synthesis and characterization of poly(NIPAAm-co-JAAm) copolymers which demonstrates controlled swelling that is nearly independent of LCST. The graft copolymer design was then used to produce a degradable antimicrobial-eluting gel for prevention of prosthetic joint infection. The resorbable graft copolymer gels were shown to have three unique characteristics which demonstrate their suitability for this application. First, antimicrobial release is sustained and complete within 1 week. Second, the gels behave like viscoelastic fluids, enabling complete surface coverage of an implant without disrupting fixation or movement. Finally, the gels degrade rapidly within 1-6 weeks, which may enable their use in interfaces where bone healing takes place. Graft copolymer hydrogels were also developed which undergo Michael addition in situ with poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate to form elastic gels for endovascular embolization of saccular aneurysms. Inclusion of JAAm grafts led to weaker physical crosslinking and faster, more complete chemical crosslinking. JAAm grafts prolonged the delivery window of the system from 30 seconds to 220 seconds, provided improved gel swelling, and resulted in stronger, more elastic gels within 30 minutes after delivery.

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Date Created
  • 2012