Date: December 2011
Creator: Vidhate, Shailesh.
Description: The utilization of biodegradable polymers is critical for developing “cradle to cradle” mindset with ecological, social and economic consequences. Poly(hydroxy butyrate-co-valerate) (PHBV) shows significant potential for many applications with a polypropylene equivalent mechanical performance. However, it has limitations including high crystallinity, brittleness, small processing window, etc. which need to be overcome before converting them into useful products. Further the development of biodegradable strain sensing polymer sensors for structural health monitoring has been a growing need. In this dissertation I utilize carbon nanotubes as a self sensing dispersed nanofiller. The impact of its addition on PHBV and a blend of PHBV with poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) polymer was examined. Nanocomposites and blends of PHBV, PBAT, and MWCNTs were prepared by melt-blending. The effect of MWCNTs on PHBV crystallinity, crystalline phase, quasi-static and dynamic mechanical property was studied concurrently with piezoresistive response. In PHBV/PBAT blends a rare phenomenon of melting point elevation by the addition of low melting point PBAT was observed. The blends of these two semicrystalline aliphatic and aromatic polyesters were investigated by using differential scanning calorimetry, small angle X-ray scattering, dynamic mechanical analysis, surface energy measurement by contact angle method, polarized optical and scanning electron microscopy, and rheology. The study ...
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