Investigating polymer-peptide conjugates and electrospinning for the production of advanced materials


This thesis describes the production of advanced materials comprising a wide array of polymer-based building blocks. These materials include bio-hybrid polymer-peptide conjugates, based on phenylalanine and poly(ethylene oxide), and polymers with intrinsic microporosity (PIMs). Polymer-peptides conjugates were previously synthesised using click chemistry. Due to the inherent disadvantages of the reported synthesis, a new, simpler, inexpensive protocol was sought. Three synthetic methods based on amidation chemistry were investigated for both oligopeptide and polymerpeptide coupling. The resulting conjugates produced were then assessed by various analytical techniques, and the new synthesis was compared with the established protocol. An investigation was also carried out focussing on polymer-peptide coupling via ester chemistry, involving deprotection of the carboxyl terminus of the peptide. Polymer-peptide conjugates were also assessed for their propensity to self-assemble into thixotropic gels in an array of solvent mixtures. Determination of the rules governing this particular self-assembly (gelation) was required. Initial work suggested that at least four phenylalanine peptide units were necessary for self-assembly, due to favourable hydrogen bond interactions. Quantitative analysis was carried out using three analytical techniques (namely rheology, FTIR, and confocal microscopy) to probe the microstructure of the material and provided further information on the conditions for self-assembly. Several polymers were electrospun in order to produce nanofibres. These included novel materials such as PIMs and the aforementioned bio-hybrid conjugates. An investigation of the parameters governing successful fibre production was carried out for PIMs, polymer-peptide conjugates, and for nanoparticle cages coupled to a polymer scaffold. SEM analysis was carried out on all material produced during these electrospinning experiments.

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Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Self-assembly,hydrogel,phenylalanine,poly(ethylene oxide),thixotropic
Completed Date: 2013-02-20
Authors: Sohdi, Arun


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