Date of Award

12-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor

Luzinov, Igor A

Committee Member

Lickfield , Gary C

Committee Member

Brown , Philip J

Committee Member

Zdyrko , Bogdan

Abstract

This research focuses on fabricating blends and composites from natural polymers especially from proteins and natural epoxy, and describing the properties of plastics made from them. Specifically, plastic samples from partially denatured feathermeal and bloodmeal proteins, derived from the animal co-products (rendering) industry, were successfully produced through a compression molding process. The modulus (stiffness) of the material obtained was found to be comparable with that of commercial synthetic materials, such as polystyrene, but was found to have lower toughness characteristics, which is a common phenomenon among plastics produced from animal and plant proteins. Therefore, this study explored blending methods for improving the toughness. Plastic forming conditions for undenatured animal proteins such as chicken egg whites albumin and whey, used as a model, were established to prepare plastics from their blends with animal co-product proteins. The resultant plastic samples from these biomacromolecular blends demonstrated improved mechanical properties that were also compared with the established theoretical models known for polymer blends and composites. Moreover, plastics from albumin of chicken egg whites and human serum have demonstrated their potential in medical applications that require antibacterial properties.
Another natural polymer vegetable oil-based epoxy, especially epoxidized linseed oil, showed significant potential to replace petroleum-derived resins for use as a matrix for composites in structural applications. Moreover, the research showed the benefits of ultrasonic curing, which can help in preparing the out-of-autoclave composites.

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