Ian Baxter

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Chuanbing Tang


In this research, increasing the sustainability of polymers was investigated through two main methods. The upcycling of poly(vinyl chloride) and the creation of polymer mimics to create degradable low-density polyethylene. In the first chapter, an overview of the sustainability issues of polymers is presented and approaches are described on how their sustainability may be increased through the upcycling of polymers or the synthesis of degradable polymers that mimic the properties of petrol-based polymers.

Chapter 2 contains the progress on the upcycling of PVC using high oleic soybean oil. Soybean oil can soften PVC making it less brittle than pure PVC. This chapter also contains the current progress in modifying PVC into a pressure sensitive adhesive.

Chapter 3 contains the progress to make mimics of LDPE polymer using long chain aliphatic polyesters to improve degradability while using monomers with built in branching to disrupt polymer chain stacking. The synthesis of diol monomers used in the polycondensation reaction, the polymerization, and the characterization of the polymer to show whether it is a PE mimic are given.

Chapter 4 is a summary of all the work presented in this thesis as well as an outlook on the projects moving forward.


© 2022, Ian Baxter

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