Polymer Science Faculty Research


Supramolecular Thermoplastic Elastomers

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Spring 3-16-2014


Utilizing fundamental information of well-known thermoplastic elastomers (TPE's) such as Poly(Styrene)-Poly(Butadiene)-Poly(Styrene) (SBS) and thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU's), the focus of this research has been the synthesis and characterization of a class of novel ABA triblock copolymers and their properties as TPE's. Thus far, a TPE possessing ABA architecture has been synthesized and characterized. The soft B block is poly(butadiene) and the hard A blocks are made up of oligo(β-alanine) (Nylon 3) units. (See Figure) Nylon 3 is unique to the nylon family because its only observed secondary structure is flat, anti-parallel β-sheets.1,2 It is hypothesized that the hard domains formed by this secondary structure will strengthen an elastomer by two mechanisms. First, by physical cross-linking via intermolecular hydrogen bonding and secondly, through a filler effect resulting from the disperse oligo(β-alanine) domains. DSC confirms two phases are present as a melting point (Tm) can be seen for the hard, crystalline domain and a glass transition temperature (Tg) is observed for the soft, amorphous phase. Oligo(β-alanine) units have been synthesized by solution phase peptide synthesis as well as two different polymerization methods. The differences between these synthetic routes and their effect on TPE properties will be detailed in this research.

Publication Title

Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society