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The surface modification of polystyrene

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posted on 02.10.2012, 12:28 by Clare J. Tremlett
Polymers have ideal bulk properties for many applications. However, adhesion to many polymers is poor without surface pretreatment. This can result, for example, in peeling paint and printing, adhesive joint failure and bio-incompatibility. In applications such as painting, printing, adhesive bonding and biocompatibility, various cleaning or surface chemical modifications may be employed. A commodity polymer where pretreatment IS sometimes needed is polystyrene. This project investigated, in detail, the effects of a novel method of modification namely mediated electrochemical oxidation (MEO), as a mode of surface modification on polystyrene and a comparison was made with other polymers. The resulting modification was investigated using a range of surface analysis techniques to obtain complementary information. These included; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, contact angles, static secondary ion mass spectrometry, atomic force microscopy, chemical derivatisation, scanning electron microscopy, attenuated total reflection Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy and composite lap shear joint testing. It has been shown that MEO modifies the surface of polystyrene introduced oxygen mainly as hydroxyl groups, and a small number of carbonyl groups, that are positioned only on the backbone hydrocarbon chain. This modification improved adhesion, was stable and samples could be stored in aqueous media. The resulting hydroxylation was further derivatised using an - amino acid to provide a specialised surface. This was very different from the multiple oxygen functionalities introduced in the comparison studies by UV/ozone and plasma treatments.



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© Clare Tremlett

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.



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