Date Thesis Awarded

5-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Chemistry

Advisor

Robert Orwoll

Committee Member

Richard Kiefer

Committee Member

Christopher Abelt

Committee Member

Michael Kelley

Abstract

During interplanetary voyages spacecraft are exposed to a variety of ionizing radiations, including high intensity electromagnetic radiation and galactic cosmic rays, creating conditions that are harmful to both instrumentation and human passengers. Current shielding methods offer a degree of protection, but they are not suitable for long term missions or for habitation on extraterrestrial environments, and traditional terrestrial shields are too heavy to be carried on these missions. Organic polymers offer a versatile, lightweight solution to many of the difficulties in shielding, however they also present difficulties establishing a sufficiently high hydrogen content while maintaining high mechanical and thermal stability. By mixing two polymer species together it is possible to produce a material that combines the properties of both polymers, yet due to the immiscible nature of most polymeric materials, using polymer blends is not a practical solution. However it is possible to bypass the issue of immiscibility by dissolving different polymer species together and crosslinking like chains together, forming an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN).

This research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of IPNs consisting of aliphatic and aromatic polymer species, containing a high hydrogen content and good mechanical properties, respectively, to be used in extraterrestrial environments to provide protection from ionizing radiation for humans and instrumentation alike.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.