NSF REU PROGRAM AT UNIVERSITY OF AKRON: PROJECT MATERIALS 2E
The National Science Foundation provided an REU (research experience for undergraduates) supplement to the Materials 2E project (Surface Engineering Approach for Enhanced Filler Dispersion and Hysteresis Reduction in Rubber Compounds) to sponsor Annette Valceschini, a senior student majoring in Chemistry at California State University - Chico. The REU program was held in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron from May 31 to August 12, 2016. Annie first worked with graduate student Nicole Swanson (Pugh group) to synthesize and characterize a polybutadiene graft copolymer coupling agent with grafts containing 2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorostyrene (PFS) and (dodecyloxy)diethoxy(4-vinylphenethyl)silane(StSi(ODod)(OEt)2).
While continuing additional syntheses, she then worked with graduate student Hamad Albehaijan (Jana group) to use the coupling agent in a rubber tire tread compound recipe, and to analyze the rubber compound by its curing behavior, APA, storage modulus, tensile strength, and dynamic mechanical analysis. Annie presented her summer project entitled Polybutadiene Graft Copolymer for Improved Silica Filler Dispersion on August 4 at the 13th Annual Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium, which was hosted by The University of Akron. Annie expects to complete her ACS-certified BS degree in Chemistry from Chico State University in December 2016.