Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Paul A. Charpentier



Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a brittle polymer used for both commercial dental and bone cement applications. Its poor mechanical properties leads to implant failures requiring revisions which is a tremendous current problem as we live longer and more active lives. The objective of this work was to produce microspheres of PMMA containing titanium dioxide (Ti02) nanofillers that have the potential for enhancing the mechanical properties of these cements. To make the TiC>2 nanofillers organophillic to be compatable with PMMA, a variety of bifunctional molecules were examined for coordination to the Ti02 nanospheres through a -COOH functionality. These bifunctional molecules have an additional vinyl group that can be used for subsequent ‘grafting from’ polymerization from the TiC>2 surface after co-ordination. TGA (thermogravimetric analysis) and water/MMA bilayer experiments were examined to investigate the coordination reaction and stability of the resulting nanostructures in MMA monomer. Then, to provide uniform polymer microspheres containing well dispersed nano TiC>2 for integration into the bone cements, a microfluidics approach was examined using interfacial polymerization. A T-junction microfluidics reactor was designed which can control the size of microspheres by adjusting the reactor pressure, flow rate of inlets, as well as the geometry of the micro-channels. A preliminary computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed for the theoretical and experimental description of the polymerization process. This approach offers a potentially lower cost, adjustable process for making microsphere nanocomposites compared to other more traditional polymerization approaches.



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