Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

4-2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Program

JB Speed School of Engineering

Committee Chair

Kate, Kunal

Committee Member

Atre, Sundar

Committee Member

Satyavolu, Jagannadh

Author's Keywords

3D Printing; PLA; PEG; Copolymer

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of two material systems derived from polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene glycol (PEG). PLA is a polymer commonly sourced from renewable sources such as starches and sugars. It is a relatively strong, biodegradable polymer, making it ideal for use in the body. Even though it has a relative high strength, PLA is also brittle leading to the use of plasticizers to increase flexibility. One such plasticizer is PEG, which is a material that can exist at room temperature as either a thin liquid, or a hard waxy solid depending on the molecular weight. The first chapter of this thesis introduces the goals of the second and third chapters by providing context to the two research projects that were done. The second chapter presents a study on the mechanical properties of 3D printed PLA-PEG blends, using two types of PLA and examining the effects of changing molecular weight of PEG and the concentration of PEG. The third chapter focuses on combining a modified PLA-PEG reaction blend with additional PLA and determining the dissolution profile, as this modified PLA-PEG blend shows some promise as a drug delivery material, due to how quickly it dissolves in water and phosphate buffered saline.

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