Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Chemistry

Advisor

David Kranbuehl

Committee Member

David Thompson

Committee Member

Daniel Doherty

Abstract

Graphene oxide (GO) is a nanoparticle derived from pristine graphene and shows increasing promise for applications as a reinforcement material for polymer composites. Pristine graphene forms the basal plane of graphite and is one of the strongest materials known to man and exhibits excellent gas barrier properties. Polyamide-11 (PA-11) is a specialty polymer of the Nylon class and is commonly used in offshore oil pipes due to its excellent mechanical properties and superior resistance to hydrolysis compared to other polyamides. However, degradation by hydrolysis of PA-11 in the aqueous environments of these pipes still poses significant safety and budget concerns. This paper explores the advantages in tensile, water diffusion, and water hydrolysis properties of GO/PA-11 composites. Two separate batches of composites were made by polymerizing GO/11-Aminoundecanoic Acid dispersions in-situ. The batch with a faster heating rate during polymerization showed superior tensile properties at low GO concentrations and a lower diffusion coefficient at higher GO concentrations. The batch with the slower heating rate showed an improved equilibrium molecular weight at low GO concentrations but the tensile properties showed no improvement compared to the neat system.

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