Characterization of Flame-resistant Polymers by Single-sided NMR

Hello, my name is Anna Tsutsui and I am a rising senior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in chemistry.

My honors thesis will be characterizing the physical properties flame-resistant polymers using single-sided NMR.

Flame-resistant, or fire-safe polymers are a mixture of a base polymer and a fire-resistant additive. Most current literature on fire-safe polymers consists of data that tests the efficacy of these polymers for industrial standards. There is not much data about the overall polymer network and the interactions that occur between the additives and the base polymer strands. Also, because current methods used to study the efficacy of fire-safe polymers are destructive (e.g. flame tests), there is not much data about the phyical effects on these polymers after heat exposure.

Single-sided NMR is an analytical technique that uses portable magnets and easy-to-produce radio waves to capture the information about a material, much like an MRI used in clinical settings. However, rather than capturing images like an MRI, single-sided NMR captures information about the physical properties of materials such as cross-linking and rigidity. Single-sided NMR is also a non-destructive technique, making it a good candidate for long term studies.

I hope, that through my research, I will be able to better understand the physical properties of these polymers, how they change after heat exposure, in addition to broadening my knowledge of single-sided NMR methodologies and expanding on the possible applications of this technique.

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