Grafting of Polymers to Starch by Various Techniques
PhD Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Waterloo
Friday, March 6, 2019
Graft copolymers derived at least in part from renewable resources such as starch have numerous applications in the industry. Starch is a biocompatible, renewable, and biodegradable polysaccharide. Its abundance and relatively low cost have led to substantial interest in its use as a base material for a wide range of applications. Starch in its native state has some undesirable characteristics for many industrial applications, such as poor long-term stability caused by water absorption, and poor mechanical properties. Due to these properties, it cannot be used directly in most cases. Modification through various means, including graft copolymerization, is required to have a suitable balance of properties. Through these modifications, starch can acquire characteristics comparable to synthetic petroleum-based polymers. In general, graft copolymers contain long sequences of two different monomers in the same polymer chain and can be synthesized by various techniques including radical polymerization (free radical and controlled radical), as well as ionic polymerization (anionic, cationic and living). Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, and the characteristics of the resulting graft copolymers depend on the technique utilized. In this presentation, the characteristics of these techniques will be compared and contrasted. Several applications of graft copolymers will also be discussed, including poly(acrylic acid)-g-starch. This graft copolymer, in particular, displays remarkable water absorbency and has been used as a platform for controlled drug delivery as well as in paper and textile finishing . Additional applications include thermoplastics, rubber fillers, soil conditioners, adhesives, enhanced oil recovery and sanitary goods.
Joanne Fernandez Joanne Fernandez obtained her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Waterloo in 2012. She then started her M.Sc. in the Fall of 2012 in Polymer Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Mario Gauthier. Over the following year, she had the opportunity to transfer directly to the Ph.D. program and is currently completing her work. Her research work in polymer chem is try focuses on grafting of starch with polymers using free radical polymerization. This involves comparing different methods of radical polymerization, such as cerium (IV) promoted grafting and emulsion polymerization. The starch graft copolymers obtained can be used for various applications. To date, she had the opportunity to present her research at various conferences and has received a few internal awards at the University of Waterloo, including the Provost Doctoral Entrance Award for Women.
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