Thermochemistry of Novel Polymers

Student: Brandon Williams

Major: Chemistry

Mentors: Dr. David S. Boucher and Dr. Brooke Van Horn

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry; Chemistry and Biochemistry

Thermochemistry of Novel Polymers

The purpose of this project is to determine the thermal characteristics of a series of co-polymers composed of the caprolactone (CL) and 1,4,8-trioxa[4.6]spiro-9-undecanone (TOSUO). Block, random, and gradient copolymers composed of varying amounts of these monomers have attracted a lot of interest as biodegradable vehicles for targeted delivery of drugs and imaging agents. Little is known, however, about (1) the thermal properties of these polymers, which will govern their biodegradation, and (2) their solubility characteristics, which is a critical aspect of pharmaceutical and pharmacological applications. In this project we used differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and modulated differential scanning calorimetry (m-DSC) to determine melting points, heats of fusion and heat capacity data for poly (caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(1,4,8-trioxa[4.6]spiro-9-undecanone) (PTOSUO) homopolymers and the PCL-co-PTOSUO copolymers. The results of this experiment will help assess the potential utility of these novel polymers in a biopharmaceutical and therapeutic setting, as well as provide a framework for the synthesis of additional copolymer systems.