Honors Projects


Research toward smart materials, specifically self-healing polymers, is an expanding topic within the materials science field. These materials rely heavily on dynamic crosslinking that is achieved by inducing different degrees of hydrogen bonding, van der Waals forces, etc. This work, demonstrated by research previously done within the Ostrowski research group, shows how coordination bonds of transition metals have been shown to create light activated, self-healing properties. Work done with these light-activated chromium (III) complexes with a poly(butylyene-co-ethylene) backbone have shown how metal—ligand coordination geometries can tune mechanical properties of the polymeric material. However, these materials suffer from being incredibly soft and gel like and lack mechanical strength needed for durable coatings. A collaboration with the Furgal lab aims to make the mechanical and thermal properties of the previously synthesized polymer more applicable through the addition of silsesquioxane and siloxane structures into the polymer matrix, which offer thermal stabilities greater than 300 °C and a tunable modulus. These silicon based compounds will be used as composites (through mixtures) and/or covalently attached to increase the cross-link density, inherent stability and spatial alignment of the previously synthesized metallosupramolecular polymer matrix. The final polymer-silsesquioxane product is hypothesized to have a more rigid and applicable structure for advanced coatings while maintaining or enhancing the optical properties of the polymer.





First Advisor

Alexis Ostrowski

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Joseph Furgal

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2018