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Monomer and Polyimide Production for Radiation Shielding Purposes in Manned Space Exploration

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Author: Bate, Norah
Advisor: Orwoll, Robert A.
Committee Members: Abelt, Christopher J.; Poutsma, John C.; Drake, Randall
Issued Date: 2009-05-16
Subjects: Polyimides
Radiation Shielding
Bisphenol Synthesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/1249
Description: Deep space radiation poses a major threat to personnel and equipment on long-range and long-term manned expeditions to other planets in our solar system and beyond. Current forms of shielding are inadequate when faced with radiations such as galactic cosmic radiation, neutrons, and high energy electromagnetic radiation. In light of this, it is necessary to produce new lightweight shielding materials which are both structurally functional and effective in blocking these dangerous forms of radiation. High-performance polymers such as polyimides provide the thermal and structural stability necessary for this application, properties which can be enhanced through increased aromatic character of the polymer backbone. In addition, methods for monomer synthesis provide a convenient route for increasing hydrogen content in the monomer and thereby increasing the polymer's radiation shielding capabilities. This research has concentrated primarily on the synthesis of bisphenol monomers as well as subsequent steps toward polyimidization. Tungsten additives and their effects on thermal and mechanical properties were also explored. These syntheses as well as future research into similar compounds will advance the search for more effective shielding materials.
Degree: Bachelors of Science in Chemistry

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