FURI | Spring 2022

Chemically Recyclable Poly(Thiol-Ene) Elastomers

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Conventional petroleum-based polymers are not biodegradable, or easily recyclable. The goal of this research is to synthesize crosslinked photopolymers via thiol-disulfide exchange reactions. These materials may be synthesized by a one-step reaction with commercially available materials, encouraging future scalability. Specifically, thiol-containing monomers and multifunctional alkenes undergo photopolymerization in the presence of a photo-initiator, forming a crosslinked structure of disulfide linkages. These materials may then undergo base-catalyzed thiol-disulfide exchange reactions, forming thiol oligomers, similar to their initial form. This process may then be cycled repeatedly, alternating between crosslinked (solid) and de-crosslinked (liquid) forms that maintain their material properties from the last cycle.

Student researcher

Connor Williamson

Connor E. Williamson

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024