Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are small, carbon based molecules that volatilize under normal atmospheric conditions. For this particular area, the focus is on characterizing how certain volatile compounds, specifically complex mixtures of scented compounds, diffuse out of polymeric fibers and films.
The first part of the project is based on characterizing the loading of compounds in known materials via known laboratory techniques. These particularly compounds can be added to a material at loadings below what most laboratory equipment can detect, and will only leave the material in very small quantities, further complicating characterization. The main goal of characterization is to allow the diffusion behavior to be tested with very small limits of detection without the need for specialized equipment.
The second part is loading up a known quantity of a complex mixture of VOCs to polymeric materials. The combination of VOC mixture and polymer is then formed into a shape or coated onto other materials. The goal is to create new properties in the final material without compromising critical properties and characterizing how the VOCs diffuse out of the material to better understand how processing effects the final properties. Another goal is examining how the VOCs evolve out of a polymer over the entire lifespan of the material in addition to the short term lab tests.
This project is support as part of the Ceramic, Composite And Optical Materials Center which is a NSF sponsored IUCRC: Industry–University Cooperative Research Centers Program