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New Applications for Poly(ethylene-alt-maleic anhydride)

JOHNSON, DAVID,WARD (2010) New Applications for Poly(ethylene-alt-maleic anhydride). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The project throughout is an iterative development of an understanding of poly(ethylene-alt-maleic anhydride) in terms of both its physical behaviour and chemistry.

Chapter one involves a thorough and rigorous characterisation of the polymer, and three principle things are established: the polymer is structurally uniform, reacts in a predictable and quantitative manner, closely analogous to that of small molecule anhydrides. It was with this knowledge that further applications could then be developed.

In chapter two the polymer is reacted with a series of different hydrophobic and hydrophilic amines in order to create a series of polymers which allowed the mechanism of ice re-crystallisation to be probed. The findings show that hydrophobic volume appears to play an important role in the mechanism of ice re-crystallisation. This finding allowed for tentative developments to be made on the existing theories surrounding antifreeze glycol protein mimicking polymers.

Chapter three involved the reaction of the polymer with varying amounts of hydrophobic and hydrophilic amines in order to induce their self assembly in water. The results demonstrated that when the concentration of hydrophobic amines is low that the polymer aggregates can disperse as a small molecule surfactant might. In addition, to this the hydrophobically modified polymers were able to self assemble intra-molecularly at concentration below the critical aggregation concentration providing an opportunity to create complex encapsulation systems. In addition, it was shown that the introduction of small amounts of hydrophilic amines onto the polymer backbone resulted in aggregates forming wherein the remaining anhydride units form the core, consequently there was shown to be a limited period of time in which further reactions could be undertaken such as cross-linking or the immobilisation of nucleophilic compounds. This presents the opportunity for easily manufactured, multi –purpose carrier nano-aggregates for useful compounds, examples may include dispersing or solubilising a hydrophobic drug.

Chapter four deals with the production of hydrophobic surfaces by a trivial and easily replicable mechanism, namely by creating a phase separated polymer film and etching away of one of the polymer phases by dissolving it in a solvent selective for one polymer only. While this did not result in a super-hydrophobic surface the contact angle was observed to increase markedly over analogous flat thin films and presents ample opportunity for future optimisation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Chemistry, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jun 2011 10:26

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