Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Science




Ragogna, Paul J

2nd Supervisor

Gilroy, Joe B

Joint Supervisor


This dissertation describes research that delves into synthesizing and characterizing polymer building blocks derived from triptycene for the creation of phosphorus-containing polymer networks in wastewater purification. The study involves successfully synthesizing two triptycene-based building blocks, wherein one incorporates nitrogen and sulfur heteroatoms to enhance its efficacy in the subsequent step, that is wastewater treatment application. The evaluation covers their hydrophosphination capabilities. The subsequent chapter explores five polymer networks, combining 3D triptycene-based building blocks with heteroatom-rich 2D ones. Manipulating stoichiometry yields distinct attributes like thermal stability and controlled expansion. The 2D building block is more reactive than its triptycene-based counterparts. Moreover, triptycene-based polymers exhibit remarkable thermal stability and swelling. This research offers insights into designing polymer networks with triptycene, showing promise as efficient adsorbents for treating radioactive wastewater.

Summary for Lay Audience

Our planet's water sources are increasingly tainted by heavy metals, posing risks to ecosystems and human health. Traditional water treatment methods struggle to handle this issue effectively, requiring innovative solutions. In this study, we dive into a fascinating world of complex molecules known as triptycenes. We've harnessed these molecules to create building blocks for special polymer networks with exceptional properties. These polymer networks hold the key to purifying water contaminated with heavy metals, making it safer for all. By skillfully crafting these triptycene-based building blocks, we've not only ensured their successful production but also enhanced them with elements like nitrogen and sulfur. This tweak boosts their abilities, making them even better suited for the task. Using these tailored building blocks, we've crafted five different polymer networks with the incorporation of another 2D heteroatom-rich building block. These networks possess unique traits that we've fine-tuned by adjusting their ingredients. This has led to remarkable qualities, such as being super stable and swelling when needed. The polymers we've developed, featuring the triptycene structure, are not only tough but also have the ability to swell under certain conditions. This makes them excellent candidates for further investigation and dealing with contaminated water, particularly when it's laced with heavy metals. In the grand scheme of things, our research adds to the growing knowledge about designing specialized polymer networks. These networks could have the potential to clean up wastewater from heavy metals, ensuring safer water for all of us.

Available for download on Monday, September 01, 2025