Attempted Copolymerization of Epoxides Synthesized from Oleic and Linoleic Acids

An Tran

Name: An Tran
Major: Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Lilliana Morris

Dr. Melissa M. Schultz Sustainability and the Environment Award

My chemistry IS project focuses on the synthesis of a biodegradable copolymer by synthesizing epoxides derived from naturally sourced fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acid with a double metal cyanide catalyst. The purpose of creating this biodegradable copolymer is to potentially replace sodium polyacrylate, a petroleum derived material commonly used in baby diapers that has a detrimental impact on the environment due to its low degradation rate. So far, I have attempted to create this material and based on the results, I might have been able to form the targeted copolymer. But because of the lack of instruments and uncontrolled reaction parameters, I could not verify exactly what was formed in my final product. Nevertheless, the findings I made in my IS signified that it is indeed possible to synthesize a biodegradable copolymer using this project’s synthetic techniques. In the future, if this material can be successfully synthesized in the lab, it can then potentially be scaled up to produce environmentally friendly diapers in the industry, possibly even other sanitary products as well.
Click here to view An’s presentation. (NOTE: A Wooster login is required to view this presentation.)
An will be online to field comments on April 16:
2-4pm EDT (PST: 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 1, 2021.