Status: Senior Thesis Student
Hydrogenated ring-opened norbornene polymers exhibit a change in crystal structure from one unit cell to another at a temperature below their melting point. The exact temperature of this transition was found to be highly sensitive to the tacticity of the polymer. Based on the nature of the catalyst and inhibitor used, there is some control over the tacticity and hence the crystal-crystal transition in polynorbornene. Based on these results, the effects of copolymerization of norbornene with substituted norbornene comonomers presents itself as an unstudied area where potentially interesting effects on polymer crystallinity and transition temperature exist. Specifically, my work is examining the effects of copolymerizing norbornene with small amounts methylnorbornene. The copolymerization is expected to influence the crystal-crystal transition due to the addition of the methyl defects into the crystal lattice.