Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ishrat Khan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Xiu Bu, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Juana Mendenhall, Ph.D.


Molecular weights of 2,000, 6,000 and 10,000 of silane functionalized atactic polystyrene (aPS) and α,ω-divinyl functionalized polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) were prepared via living anionic polymerization and bulk anionic ring opening polymerization respectively. Functionalization of the homopolymers was confirmed by FT-IR and 1H-NMR spectroscopy and their molecular weights were determined via 1H-NMR end group analysis. A hydrosilylation reaction between the functionalized homopolymers of different molecular weights produced nine polystyrene-block-polydimethylsiloxane-block-polystyrene (aPS-b-PDMS-b-aPS) triblock copolymers. Field emission scanning electron microscopy observations revealed the copolymers self-assemble into supramolecular structures. Dynamic Light Scattering measurements show only small increase in the order of nanometers of its hydrodynamic radius as the individual molecular weights of the homopolymers were increased.

Nanocomposites of the copolymers were prepared by incorporating 1% of oxidized single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) within the aPS-PDMS-aPS matrices via coagulation precipitation. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) thermal analysis shows the SWNT interacting with both aPS and PDMS constituting blocks. SWNTs interaction with aPS block either increases the polymer glass transition temperature (Tg) by restricting its segmental motion or decreases the Tg by a plasticization effect. Within the PDMS block the SWNTs act as nucleating sites accelerating the crystallization rate of the polymer. This is evident by the appearance of single and double melting endotherms in the DSC thermograms.