Callie Zheng ’24
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Investigating Structure-Property Relations in Next-generation Chemically Recyclable Polyolefins
Certificate(s): Materials Science and Engineering, Sustainable Energy
I focused on understanding the material properties of a chemically recyclable polymer —poly(oligocyclobutane) (pDVOCB). Most chemically recyclable polymers require specialized synthesis methods and have inferior material properties compared to everyday plastics. In contrast, pDVOCB is derived from butadiene, which is a cheap, abundant commodity hydrocarbon feedstock, as well as a common hazardous emission from motor vehicles. My research focused on analyzing the fundamental material properties of pDVOCB and understanding its stability under harsh environmental conditions (e.g., elevated temperatures, high humidity, etc.). A deeper understanding of the material characteristics of pDVOCB should lead to the determination of appropriate processing conditions, which would allow for commercial applications with the added benefit of chemical recyclability. During this internship, I gained valuable experimental skills and insight into academic research and learned and utilized a multitude of complementary experimental techniques, including polarized optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, dynamic mechanical analysis, and thermogravimetric analysis. This positive experience has impelled me to continue research in the form of a junior independent research project, and to look for further opportunities in materials science with the ultimate goal of helping to create a more sustainable world.
Innovation and a New Energy Future
Davidson Research Group, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey
Emily Davidson, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Shawn Maguire, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Chemical and Biological Engineering