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Synthesis and Potency of Long End-Associative Polymers for Mist Control


Wei, Ming-Hsin (2014) Synthesis and Potency of Long End-Associative Polymers for Mist Control. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z91834FW.


Long linear polymers that are end-functionalized with associative groups were studied as additives to hydrocarbon fluids to mitigate the fire hazard associated with the presence of mist in a crash scenario. These polymers were molecularly designed to overcome both the shear-degradation of long polymer chains in turbulent flows, and the chain collapse induced by the random placement of associative groups along polymer backbones. Architectures of associative groups on the polymer chain ends that were tested included clusters of self-associative carboxyl groups and pairs of hetero-complementary associative units.

Linear polymers with clusters of discrete numbers of carboxyl groups on their chain ends were investigated first: an innovative synthetic strategy was devised to achieve unprecedented backbone lengths and precise control of the number of carboxyl groups on chain ends (N). We found that a very narrow range of N allows the co-existence of sufficient end-association strength and polymer solubility in apolar media. Subsequent steady-flow rheological study on solution behavior of such soluble polymers in apolar media revealed that the end-association of very long chains in apolar media leads to the formation of flower-like micelles interconnected by bridging chains, which trap significant fraction of polymer chains into looped structures with low contribution to mist-control. The efficacy of very long 1,4-polybutadiene chains end-functionalized with clusters of four carboxyl groups as mist-control additives for jet fuel was further tested. In addition to being shear-resistant, the polymer was found capable of providing fire-protection to jet fuel at concentrations as low as 0.3wt%. We also found that this polymer has excellent solubility in jet fuel over a wide range of temperature (-30 to +70°C) and negligible interference with dewatering of jet fuel. It does not cause an adverse increase in viscosity at concentrations where mist-control efficacy exists.

Four pairs of hetero-complementary associative end-groups of varying strengths were subsequently investigated, in the hopes of achieving supramolecular aggregates with both mist-control ability and better utilization of polymer building blocks. Rheological study of solutions of the corresponding complementary associative polymer pairs in apolar media revealed the strength of complementary end-association required to achieve supramolecular aggregates capable of modulating rheological properties of the solution.

Both self-associating and complementary associating polymers have therefore been found to resist shear degradation. The successful strategy of building soluble, end-associative polymers with either self-associative or complementary associative groups will guide the next generation of mist-control technology.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:mist control; telechelic; associative polymer; hydrogen bonding; shear resistance; supramolecule; high molecular weight
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Kornfield, Julia A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Kornfield, Julia A. (chair)
  • Davis, Mark E.
  • Sarohia, Virendra
  • Wang, Zhen-Gang
Defense Date:4 September 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10192013-181502465
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8001
Deposited By: Ming Hsin Wei
Deposited On:03 May 2016 17:02
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:03

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