Michael Azad – Seminar/PhD Preliminary Defense – Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 9:00 A.M.

JSNN – Michael Azad – Ph.D. Preliminary Defense/Thursday Seminar

Candidate: Micahel Azad

Advisor and Committee Chair: Daniel J. Herr, Ph.D.

Department: Nanoscience

Time: 9:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.

Location: JSNN 209 Open Room

2907 E. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro, NC 27401

Title: “A Comparison Study of Microwave – Assisted Polymerization and Free Radical Solution Polymerization: Synthesis, Kinetics, and Applications.”


This proposal addresses three questions:

1) How does the performance of microwave assisted polymerization (MAP) of a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) compare with that of free radical solution polymerization (FRSP);

2) How do additives, such as clay, impact the properties of SAPs; and

3) Can kinetic studies provide new insight into the polymerization process and enable predictive models to enhance SAP properties?

To date, this research demonstrated the superiority of MAP over FRSP, with respect to key functional properties, in the synthesis of acrylic acid based SAPs. These properties include: Shorter polymerization times, ease of additive addition at different polymerization steps, higher solid content, yield, residual acrylic acid, permeability, capacity, and absorbency under load. This work also demonstrates that surface cross-linkers and additives, such as nano-clay, significantly improve the polymer’s absorbency under load and permeability respectively. Kinetic studies are proposed that will compare and provide more foundational insights into the rate limiting steps in FRSP and MAP processes. Predictive models will be developed, based on the proposed kinetic studies, that may guide and enable the design of new polymers with enhanced functional properties.