skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Thiounn, Timmy"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Fossil fuel refining produces over 70 Mt of excess sulfur annually from for which there is currently no practical use. Recently, methods to convert waste sulfur to recyclable and biodegradable polymers have been delineated. In this report, a commercial bisphenol A (BPA) derivative, 2,2′,5,5′-tetrabromo(bisphenol A) (Br4BPA), is explored as a potential organic monomer for copolymerization with elemental sulfur by RASP (radical-induced aryl halide-sulfur polymerization). Resultant copolymers, BASx (x = wt% sulfur in the monomer feed, screened for values of 80, 85, 90, and 95) were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic mechanical analysis. Analysis of early stage reaction products and depolymerization products support proposed S–Caryl bond formation and regiochemistry, while fractionation of BASx reveals a sulfur rank of 3–6. Copolymers having less organic cross-linker (5 or 10 wt%) in the monomer feed were thermoplastics, whereas thermosets were accomplished when 15 or 20 wt% of organic cross-linker was used. The flexural strengths of the thermally processable samples (>3.4 MPa and >4.7 for BAS95 and BAS90, respectively) were quite high compared to those of familiar building materials such as portland cement (3.7 MPa). Furthermore, copolymer BAS90 proved quite resistant to degradation by oxidizing organic acid, maintaining its full flexuralmore »strength after soaking in 0.5 M H2SO4 for 24 h. BAS90 could also be remelted and recast into shapes over many cycles without any loss of mechanical strength. This study on the effect of monomer ratio on properties of materials prepared by RASP of small molecular aryl halides confirms that highly cross-linked materials with varying physical and mechanical properties can be accessed by this protocol. This work is also an important step towards potentially upcycling BPA from plastic degradation and sulfur from fossil fuel refining.« less
  2. Renewably-sourced, recyclable materials that can replace or extend the service life of existing technologies are essential to accomplish humanity's quest for sustainable living. In this contribution, remeltable composites were prepared in a highly atom-economical reaction between plant-derived terpenoid alcohols (10 wt% citronellol, geraniol, or farnesol) and elemental sulfur (90 wt%). Investigation into the microstructures led to elucidation of a mechanism for terpenoid polyene cyclization initiated by sulfur-centered radicals. The formation of these cyclic structures contributes significantly to understanding the mechanical properties of the materials and the extent to which linear versus crosslinked network materials are formed. The terpenoid–sulfur composites can be thermally processed at low temperatures of 120 °C without loss of mechanical properties, and the farnesol–sulfur composite so processed exhibits compressive strength 70% higher than required of concrete for residential building. The terpenoid–sulfur composites also resist degradation by oxidizing acid under conditions that disintegrate many commercial composites and cements. In addition to being stronger and more chemically resistant than some commercial products, the terpenoid–sulfur composites can be used to improve the acid resistance of mineral-based Portland cement as well. These terpenoid–sulfur composites thus hold promise as elements of sustainable construction on their own or as additives to extend themore »operational life of existing technologies, while the cyclization behaviour could be an important contributor in other polymerizations of terpenoids.« less
  3. The search for alternative feedstocks to replace petrochemical polymers has centered on plant-derived monomer feedstocks. Alternatives to agricultural feedstock production should also be pursued, especially considering the ecological damage caused by modern agricultural practices. Herein, l -tyrosine produced on an industrial scale by E. coli was derivatized with olefins to give tetraallyltyrosine. Tetraallyltyrosine was subsequently copolymerized via its inverse vulcanization with industrial by-product elemental sulfur in two different comonomer ratios to afford highly-crosslinked network copolymers TTSx ( x = wt% sulfur in monomer feed). TTSx copolymers were characterized by infrared spectroscopy, elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). DMA was employed to assess the viscoelastic properties of TTSx through the temperature dependence of the storage modulus, loss modulus and energy damping ability. Stress–strain analysis revealed that the flexural strength of TTSx copolymers (>6.8 MPa) is more than 3 MPa higher than flexural strengths for previously-tested inverse vulcanized biopolymer derivatives, and more than twice the flexural strength of some Portland cement compositions (which range from 3–5 MPa). Despite the high tyrosine content (50–70 wt%) in TTSx , the materials show no water-induced swelling or water uptake after being submerged for 24 h. More impressively, TTSx copolymersmore »are highly resistant to oxidizing acid, with no deterioration of mechanical properties even after soaking in 0.5 M sulfuric acid for 24 h. The demonstration that these durable, chemically-resistant TTSx copolymers can be prepared from industrial by-product and microbially-produced monomers via a 100% atom-economical inverse vulcanization process portends their potential utility as sustainable surrogates for less ecofriendly materials.« less
  4. Lignin is the second-most abundant biopolymer in nature and remains a severely underutilized waste product of agriculture and paper production. Sulfur is the most underutilized byproduct of petroleum and natural gas processing industries. On their own, both sulfur and lignin exhibit very poor mechanical properties. In the current work, a strategy for preparing more durable composites of sulfur and lignin, LSx , is described. Composites LSx were prepared by reaction of allyl lignin with elemental sulfur, whereby some of the sulfur forms polysulfide crosslinks with lignin to yield a three-dimensional network. Even relatively small quantities (<5 wt%) of the polysulfide-crosslinked lignin network provides up to a 3.4-fold increase in mechanical reinforcement over sulfur alone, as measured by the storage moduli and flexural strength determined from dynamic mechanical analysis (temperature dependence and stress–strain analysis). Notably, LSx composites could be repeatedly remelted and recast after pulverization without loss of mechanical strength. These initial studies suggest potential practical applications of lignin and sulfur waste streams in the ongoing quest towards more sustainable, recyclable structural materials.
  5. Network polymers of sulfur and poly(4-allyloxystyrene), PAOSx ( x = percent by mass sulfur, where x is varied from 10–99), were prepared by reaction between poly(4-allyloxystyrene) with thermal homolytic ring-opened S 8 in a thiol-ene-type reaction. The extent to which sulfur content and crosslinking influence thermal/mechanical properties was assessed. Network materials having sulfur content below 50% were found to be thermosets, whereas those having >90% sulfur content are thermally healable and remeltable. DSC analysis revealed that low sulfur-content materials exhibited neither a T g nor a T m from −50 to 140 °C, whereas higher sulfur content materials featured T g or T m values that scale with the amount of sulfur. DSC data also revealed that sulfur-rich domains of PAOS90 are comprised of sulfur-crosslinked organic polymers and amorphous sulfur, whereas, sulfur-rich domains in PAOS99 are comprised largely of α-sulfur (orthorhombic sulfur). These conclusions are further corroborated by CS 2 -extraction and analysis of extractable/non-extractable fractions. Calculations based on TGA, FT-IR, H 2 S trapping experiments, CS 2 -extractable mass, and elemental combustion microanalysis data were used to assess the relative percentages of free and crosslinked sulfur and average number of S atoms per crosslink. Dynamic mechanical analyses indicate highmore »storage moduli for PAOS90 and PAOS99 (on the order of 3 and 6 GPa at −37 °C, respectively), with a mechanical T g between −17 °C and 5 °C. A PAOS99 sample retains its full initial mechanical strength after at least 12 pulverization-thermal healing cycles, making it a candidate for facile repair and recyclability.« less