Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type



Chemical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Harry Ploehn

First Reader

John Weidner


For my thesis defense I plan to focus on both the scientific merit of my research and a reflection of what I personally gained from my experience in Germany. The central goal of this scientific study was to prepare a polymer blend with fine co-continuous blend morphology which contains well dispersed graphene nanofiller. Graphene is currently of great interest as a filler within the polymer nanocomposite community due to its excellent electrical conductivity, favorable mechanical properties, and high surface area. The polycarbonate (PC)/ Poly (styrene acrylonitrile) (SAN) blend system is of interest due to their ubiquitous use in both industrial and consumer applications and therefore we intend to incorporate graphene into this system. The selective localization behavior of carbon fillers in polymer blend systems has historically been of interest and to this end we qualitatively assessed the dispersion and localization of graphene nanofiller within PC/SAN blends systems as well as the transfer kinetics of the graphene between the two polymer phases.

My reflection will focus on how this experience helped me understand how I want to live my life in the near future both personally and professionally. I realized that I will be much happier working at the intersection of engineering and management rather than working within a research setting. I have also learned that I want live and work abroad for an extended period of time. I would not have been able to obtain or even appreciate the position I will fill upon graduation without the knowledge and wisdom I gained in Dresden.