Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Smith Jr., Dennis W

Committee Member

Burg , Karen J

Committee Member

Dieter , Karl

Committee Member

Guiseppe-Elie , Anthony


This dissertation primarily encompasses the synthesis, characterization, properties and discussion of applications for lactide derived polymers. The methodology focuses on altering polylactide's (PLA's) dynamic and physical properties increasing its broad market utility in both traditional and non-traditional applications. The fundamentals of this work include understanding and enhancing the polymer chemistry and materials related processes through the use of copolymerization, fluorination, composite chemistry and materials science.
The first chapter discusses the important of this research with emphasis on current world issues that focuses on the feasibility of renewable resources and sustainability implementation. Modification of renewable resource materials like lactic acid is an encouragingly versatile way of impacting the economy in renewable technologies. There is a growing impetus towards the development of sustainable technologies. Chapter 2 provides a comprehensive literature review of polylactide, a renewable resource polymer designed for a variety of medical, textiles and plastics based applications. Polylactic acid (PLA) is highly desired and is one of the leading candidates which is derived from a renewable resource and is also biodegradable.
Chapter 3 involves the copolymerization of PLA with another renewable resource polymer, Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) designed specifically for biomedical applications and improving upon PLA's intrinsic properties. It also provides a mini-review of PHA, focusing on significant attributes that make it an attractive counterpart in the copolymerization process. Chapter 4 introduces a general perspective on perfluoropolyethers and the influence of the C-F bond. It includes the synthesis and characterization of perfluoropolyether modified PLA polymers with emphasis on surface property enhancement.
The next chapter (5) focuses on a slightly different approach. It relies on the development of novel thiophene based monomers that can act as an initiator for the ring opening polymerization of lactide and illustrates its ability as highly luminescent material that can have use in sensing applications. Chapter 6 also involves the synthesis of a novel four arm star monomer, resulting in a dendrimer like polylactide polymer. Its efficiency as a chemical sensor and potential for antimicrobial and antifungal properties will be discussed.



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