Title page for ETD etd-04232003-144542

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sumner, Michael Jameson
Author's Email Address msumner@vt.edu
URN etd-04232003-144542
Title High Performance Materials Containing Nitrile Groups
Degree PhD
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Riffle, Judy S. Committee Chair
Esker, Alan R. Committee Member
Lesko, John Jack Committee Member
Long, Timothy E. Committee Member
McGrath, James E. Committee Member
  • vinyl ester networks
  • phthalonitrile
  • polystyrene copolymers
  • phenolic networks
  • proton conducting membranes
Date of Defense 2003-04-12
Availability unrestricted
The objective of the research described in this thesis has been to improve the toughness of phenolic networks while maintaining flame resistance. A four step synthetic scheme has been developed to prepare 4,4¡¦-Bis(3,4-dicyanophenoxy)biphenyl(biphenoxyphthalonitrile). A 700 g mol-1 novolac oligomer was cured with relatively low concentrations of this reagent (~20 wt %) into high Tg (~190 ¢XC) networks. The curing reaction was attrubuted to nucleophilic attack of the phenolic hydroxyl on the nitrile groups of the phthalonitrile resulting in the formation of heterocylic rings. TGA and cone calorimetry demonstrated that these networks have excellent thermo-oxidative stability.

Further goals were to develop halogen-free, flame retardant monomers for improving the thermo-oxidative resistance of polystyrene and dimethylacrlyate/styrene(vinyl ester) networks. 4-Vinylphenoxyphthalonitrile, a phthalonitrile derivative of styrene, was synthesized. FTIR has been utilized to demonstrate this new monomer co-cured into vinyl ester networks in free radical thermosetting polymerizations. Upon post-curing the networks between 200-260 ¢XC for ~1.5 h, the nitrile groups reacted to form heterocyclic crosslinks. TGA and cone calorimetry demonstrated that the 4-vinylphenoxyphthalonitrile substantially improved the flame resistance of vinyl ester networks.

Copolymerizations of styrene and 4-vinylphenoxyphthalonitrile were conducted at 75 ¢XC for 24 h using 0.5 wt % AIBN in chlorobenzene. Dynamic TGA at 10 ¢XC min-1 in air showed that copolymers containing 10 and 25 mole % of 4-vinylphenoxyphthalonitrile had increased initial weight loss temperatures in air by (~50 ¢XC higher) and increased the char yield between 400-600 ¢XC.

High molecular weight nitrile-functional, (hexafluoroisopropylidene)diphenol based aromatic poly(arylene ether)s with pendent sulfonic acid groups were prepared by nucleophilic step copolymerization of 4,4¡¦-(hexafluoroisopropylidene)diphenol, 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile, and 3,3¡¦-disulfonate-4,4¡¦-dichlorodiphenylsulfone under basic conditions in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone at 200 „aC. A series of these materials with systematically varied concentrations of the sulfonic acid moieties showed increased glass transition temperatures, proton conductivities, and hydrophilicities as a function of disulfonation. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) demonstrated that the acidified copolymer with 35 mole % of disulfonated units was phase separated into a co-continuous morphology of hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains.

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