Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemistry - Biochemistry

Research Sponsor

Dr. Matthew Becker

First Reader

Dr. Thomas Leeper

Second Reader

Dr. Claire Tessier


In this report the synthesis and characterization of L-valine and L-isoleucine poly(ester ureas) (PEUs) for future use in the synthesis of biodegradable PEUs sponges will be discussed. The method of monomer and polymer synthesis will be explained along with the characterization of the monomer and polymer products. This characterization will be done by the use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC). NMR is a quick and convenient method for determining structure and purity of the monomer and polymer products. SEC gives the number average molecular weight, which is the statistical average molecular weight of all the polymer chains in a sample (Mn), the weight average molecular weight (Mw), and the Polydispersity Index (PDI), which is the Mw/Mn. Further characterization will be performed using Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The data from the TGA provides degradation temperature, while the date from the DSC provides glass transition temperature. These values are of great importance since the application of the polymers will be in the body at a temperature of 37 °C. This report is only the first of three steps that will follow and are explained in the introduction.