1420 Molecular Biology Bldg.
Eric Cochran, Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Abstract: In this talk I will provide an overview of our recent work with the application of controlled free radical polymerization chemistries to produce hyper-branched thermoplastic elastomers from multi-functional bio-monomers such as triglycerides, glycerine, or even potentially phenolic residues from lignin. Atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT) both use the free radical propagation mechanism to produce homopolymers, statistical copolymers, and block copolymers with tailored architectures. This is made possible — through two very different chemical mechanisms — by the limitation of the free radical concentration to the picomolar range. We have tailored these two chemistries to copolymerize multifunctional acrylated bio-monomers (e.g., from various vegetable oils) into either statistical or block architectures with styrene as the hard segment to form economical thermoplastic elastomers up to 750 kDa in molar mass.