Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Stanzione, Joseph F.

Committee Member 1

Haas, Francis M.

Committee Member 2

Dahm, Kevin D.


Bio-based, Copolymers, Dual-functional monomers, Epoxy-functional thermoplastics, Glycidyl methacrylate, Interpenetrating polymer networks


Polymerization; Thermoplastics


Chemical Engineering


While polymers have secured a place in the consumer, industrial, and military markets over the last seventy years, the next generation of polymers must become more renewable, more adaptive, and higher performing to bridge industrial needs and environmental gaps. To this end, unique network configurations of copolymers and interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) have been employed to combine features of two or more polymers into a single material that surpasses the sum of its parts. The customization of polymer networks can be made possible via dual-functional monomers, molecules characterized by two different reactive substituents that allow for versatile methods of polymerization. This thesis expands the applications of such materials by investigating bio-based, aromatic, dual-functional monomers, vanillyl alcohol epoxy-methacrylate (VAEM) and gastrodigenin epoxy-methacrylate (GDEM), as alternatives to glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) in thermoplastic copolymers with methyl methacrylate (MMA). Additionally, low molecular weight epoxy-functional thermoplastic copolymers poly(VAEM-co-MMA) and poly(GMA-co-MMA) were prepared via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization, blended at 5 wt% into an epoxy resin system containing EPON® Resin 828 and EPIKURE(TM) W Curing Agent, and cured thermally. The resulting IPNs were compared to the neat resin and evaluated for thermal and mechanical properties, where maintained thermal properties and marginal enhancements of stiffness and toughness were demonstrated.