Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.E.

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.)

Department

Electrical Engineering

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Sylvia W. Thomas, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Julie Harmon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Harmon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew M. Hoff, Ph.D.

Keywords

Contact Angle, Electrospinning, Life Cycle Analysis, Surface Tension, Viscosity

Abstract

Polycarbonate polyurethane (PCPU) has been studied as a novel polymer impregnated with nanoparticles for improved mechanical, thermal and adhesion properties [4]. This study investigates the synthesis of polycarbonate polyurethane (PCPU) polymeric nanofiber membranes by the process of electrospinning. This study further examines all the parameters associated with electrospinning a novel PCPU polymeric solution impregnated with nanofillers, such as nanoparticles, to produce fiber membranes. Tetrahydrofuran (THF) and N, N dimethylformamide (DMF) are used as solvents to dissolve PCPU polymer. One percent (1%) of nanofillers like silver and silica nanoparticles are added to PCPU polymer solution to investigate the impact on polymer solution properties, which in turn affects the fiber formation. Process parameters are studied by evaluating the impact each parameter has on the fiber formation. PCPU polymer concentrations of three polymer solutions (PCPU, PCPU + 1% silver and PCPU + 1% silica) with the appropriate solvent mixture ratio are achieved to produce polymeric fiber membranes with minimal bead formation. Polymeric nanofiber membranes of PCPU, PCPU + 1% silver and PCPU + 1% silica are produced using THF/DMF: 70/30 (V/V) solvent mixture. The polymeric nanofiber membranes obtained are characterized by using a scanning electron microscopy, rotational viscometer, tensiometer, contact angle measurement device, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) is performed to evaluate environmental impacts associated with solvents in the process of producing PCPU polymeric nanofiber membranes. The LCA is completed to gauge the potential impacts PCPU nanofiber membranes may have when utilized for various applications.

This study discusses the successful production and characterization of good quality (no beading) polymeric nanofiber membranes of PCPU and novel composites of PCPU + 1% silver and PCPU + 1% silica. This two dimensional production of impregnated PCPU in nanofiber form will give researchers the opportunity to capitalize on the large surface areas of PCPU nanofibers versus PCPU thin films.

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