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Title: Inverse vulcanisation of elemental sulfur for functional materials
Author: Smith, Jessica
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
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Synthetic polymers are the most extensively manufactured material on earth. The exponential increase in the production and application of synthetic polymers has led to growing concerns such as, depletion of fossil fuels. Due to this, there is a growing research interest in the development of sustainable, safe, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly plastics from renewable resources. Until recently, inorganic waste for functional renewable materials had been overlooked. Sulfur is a highly abundant element and is also produced as a by-product of the petrochemicals industry. Over 70 million tonnes of sulfur is produced annually, with only a small fraction of this being used to produce commodity chemicals, such as sulfuric acid and fertilisers. This leaves huge unused stockpiles around the world, meaning sulfur is a cheap waste by-product. However, until recently, it has not been conventionally used to produce functional materials because polymeric sulfur is unstable and decomposes back to crystalline sulfur (S8). In 2013 Pyun and co-workers discovered inverse vulcanisation which allows polymeric sulfur to be stabilised by a small alkene crosslinker. This work explores different inverse vulcanised sulfur polymers for functional materials and focuses on both discovering and improving the physical properties for different functions. The effect of crosslinker structure on the resultant polymer is assessed; the materials’ mechanical properties are explored; the antibacterial activity of the materials is investigated, and catalyst/accelerators are explored to improve reaction conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral