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Daniel Stefan '08

Current PositionManager, Quorum Business Solutions

B.S.E. Thesis Research:

Modifying polyethylene by crosslinking is known to have some important effects on the properties of the polymer, especially relating to improved dimensional stability and heat stability.  However, the effects of crosslinking on the properties of ethylene/methacrylic acid copolymers are less well known.  In this study, low density polyethylene and an ethylene/methacrylic acid copolymer are crosslinked to varying extents by the decomposition of dicumyl peroxide.  The effects of crosslinking on the mechanical properties of each material are evaluated via tensile testing and compared against each other.  Properties such as crystallinity and extent of crosslinking are also evaluated in an attempt to provide explanatory evidence for the observed mechanical property effects.  Rough models were developed to relate the Young’s modulus of each material to the extent of crosslinking.  However, a clear pattern of the effects of crosslinking on yield behavior failed to emerge.