Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Julie P. Harmon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Abdul Malik, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shengqian Ma, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jianfeng Cai, Ph.D.


Polyetherdiamine, Polycarbonate Polyol, Soft Thermoplastic Urethane, Phase Seperation


Four novel high performance soft thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers utilizing methylene bis(4-cyclohexylisocyanate) as a hard segment, 1,4 butanediol as a chain extender and modified low crystallinity carbonate copolymer as a soft segment were synthesized. The samples were characterized by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), tensile, elongation, hardness, abrasion resistance and atomic force microscopy (AFM). SAXS data shows evidence of an interdomain "center-to-center" distance of 45Å. DSC traces show evidence of one glass transition temperature and a weak melting region. DMA analysis reveals a low temperature secondary relaxation and the glass to rubber transition followed by a rubbery plateau. All samples demonstrated the ability to maintain excellent physical and mechanical properties in hardness below 70 Shore A. Thermoplastic polyurethanes in this study do not possess surface tackiness usually observed in soft polyurethanes. Biocompatability testing showed no toxicity of these samples as indicated by USP Class VI, MEM Elution Cytotoxicity and Hemolysis toxicology reports. This novel type of polyurethane material targets growing markets of biocompatible polymers and can be utilized as peristaltic pump tubing, balloon catheters, enteral feeding tubes and medical equipment gaskets and seals.

Polyimides are a family of engineering polymers with temperature stability, high polarity and solvent resistance. These high-performance materials are used in aerospace applications, in the production of semi-dry battery binders, and in a host of other high temperature demanding situations. However, their glass transition and melt temperatures are characteristically very high and close to one another, making them difficult to melt process and limiting them to thin film formulations from their polyamic acid precursors. Here, a new series of thermoplastic polyether-polyimides (PE-PIs) are synthesized by incorporating a polyetherdiamine monomer to reduce rigidity and break up an otherwise fully aromatic backbone as seen with most conventional polyimides. It will be shown that control of the stoichiometric ratio between the aromatic 4,4'-methylenebis(2,6-dimethylaniline) and aliphatic polyetherdiamines relative to PMDA (pyromellitic dianhydride), along with the molecular weight of the polyetheramine, can be used to tune the Tg to best balance between temperature performance and processability.