Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Member

John Ballato

Committee Member

Phil Brown

Committee Member

Gary Lickfield


Rare earth-polymer blends can be useful in many applications including safety, security, displays, and novelty. Polyester, specifically polyethylene terephthalate, is a ubiquitous material in the world today and offers many opportunities for the usefulness of visible light rare earth emissions.

In this work we have attempted to incorporate rare earth complexes with polyester yarn using various methods including coating, extrusion, and dyeing, with the latter having the most success. Nanoparticles were used initially for these experiments, however certain limitations of the particles could not be overcome, for example the size of the particles and the incompatibility of the inorganic matrix with the organic yarn. A chelate complex was then synthesized. The chelate provided a smaller size for integration with the yarn, molecular compatibility with the organics, and comparable emission properties to the nanoparticles. Terephthalic acid was selected as the ligand of choice.

Methods of dyeing used for incorporation started with small scale, single strand tests. A pot dye system was used for conducting numerous simultaneous trials. A package dye system was used to incorporate the chelate complexes into entire spools of yarn. The package dyed yarn was knitted into long tubes for analysis.

The package dye proved to be a viable method for incorporation, however certain complications arose in the execution of the dyeing detailed within. Notably, a striped pattern of discoloration similar to barré discoloration appeared in the package dyed samples. It was concluded that the discoloration is a result of the machine used, and not reflective of the efficacy of the process.

Analytical methods included elemental analysis using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray techniques, spectral analysis using photoluminescence, and qualitative analysis based on observations made with the samples illuminated under ultraviolet light.



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