Nuclear magnetic resonance and rheo-NMR investigations of wormlike micelles, rheology modifiers, and ion-conducting polymers
Wilmsmeyer, Kyle Gregory
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Investigation and characterization of polymeric materials are necessary to obtain in-depth understanding of their behavior and properties, which can fuel further development. To illuminate these molecular properties and their coupling to macroscopic behavior, we have performed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies on a variety of chemical systems. In addition to versatile "traditional" NMR measurements, we took advantage of specialized techniques, such as "rheo-NMR," 2H NMR, and NMR self-diffusion experiments to analyze alignment, orientational order, elaborate rheological behavior, and ion transport in polymer films and complex fluids. We employed self-diffusion and quadrupolar deuterium NMR methods to water-swollen channels in Nafion ionomer films commonly used in fuel cells and actuators. We also correlated water uptake and anisotropic diffusion with differing degrees and types of alignment in Nafion films based on membrane processing methods. Further, we made quantitative measurements of bulk channel alignment in Nafion membranes and determined anisotropic properties such as the biaxiality parameter using these methods. Additionally, our studies made the first direct comparison of directional transport (diffusion) with quantitative orientational order measurements for ionomer membranes. These results lend insight to the importance of water content in ionomer device performance, and showed that increased control over the direction and extent of orientational order of the hydrophilic channels could lead to improved materials design. We used the same techniques, with the addition of "rheo-NMR" and solution rheology measurements, to study the complex rheological behavior of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide wormlike micelle solutions, which behave as nematic liquid crystals at sufficiently high concentration. Amphiphilic solutions of this type are used in myriad applications, from fracturing fluids in oil fields to personal care products. We investigated the phase behavior and dynamics of shear and magnetic field alignment, and made the first observations of a novel bistable shear-activated phase in these solutions. Our first reports of the complex Leslie-Ericksen viscoelastic parameters in wormlike micelles and measurements of diffusion anisotropy show the potential for increased control and understanding of materials used in tissue engineering, oil extraction, personal care products, and advanced lubricants.
- Doctoral Dissertations