Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Involvement of Endogenous Plant Hormones in The Regulatory Network of Fatty Acid Biosynthesis in Soybean Seed
The activities of phytohormones during the reproductive phase have been partially clarified in seed physiology while the biological role of plant hormones in oil accumulation during seed development has been investigated in part only. In this research, fatty acid (FA) contents and hormone profiles, including abscisic acid (ABA) and cytokinins (CKs) of seed samples in four different stages and comparing six soybean varieties have been investigated in order to examine the hypothesis that the endogenous plant hormones play important roles in FA production in soybean seeds. The FA contents increased significantly during this period while the hormone concentrations gradually declined towards the seed physical maturation. However, the interactions between FA contents and hormone profiles were complex and went beyond linear correlations. Hormone metabolism in the earlier stages of seed maturation period demonstrated numerous robust relationships with FA accumulations, as derived from several simple and multiple regression models in the determination of different FA contents. Evaluation of the effects of exogenous ABA and trans-Zeatin (tZ) on FA biosynthesis has revealed that ABA appears to be involved in the accumulations of unsaturated FAs while tZ participated in the synthesis of saturated and unsaturated FAs. Notably, the alterations of FA synthesis differ according to what exogenous hormone concentrations could be used. Author Keywords: Abscisic acid, Cytokinin, Fatty acid, Seed development, Soybean
Lipid-derived Thermoplastic Poly(ester urethane)s
Thermoplastic poly(ester urethane)s (TPEU)s derived from vegetable oils possess inferior physical properties compared to their entirely petroleum-based counterparts due to the structural limitations and lower reactivity of the precursor lipid-derived monomers. The present work shows that high molecular weight of TPEUs with enhanced performance can be obtained from lipid-derived monomers via (i) the synthesis of polyester diols with controlled molecular weights, (ii) the tuning of the functional group stoichiometry of the polyester diols and the diisocyanate during polymerization, (iii) the degree of polymerization (iv) the control of the hard segment hydrogen bond density and distribution via the use of a chain extender and (v) different polymerization protocols. Solvent-resistant TPEUs with high molecular weight displaying polyethylene-like behavior and controlled polyester and urethane segment phase separation were obtained. Structure-property investigations revealed that the thermal transition temperatures and tensile properties increased and eventually plateaued with increasing molecular weight. Novel segmented TPEUs possessed high phase separation and showed elastomeric properties such as low modulus and high elongation analogous to rubber. The response of the structurally optimized TPEUs to environmental degradation was also established by subjecting the TPEUs to hydrothermal ageing. TPEUs exhibited thermal and mechanical properties that were comparable to commercially available entirely petroleum-based counterparts, and that could be tuned in order to achieve enhanced physical properties and controlled degradability. Author Keywords: Hydrothermal degradation, Molecular weight control, Polyester diols, Renewable resources, Structure-property relationships, Thermoplastic poly(ester urethane)s
Synthesis of Lipid Based Polyols from 1-butene Metathesized Palm Oil for Use in Polyurethane Foam Applications
This thesis explores the use of 1-butene cross metathesized palm oil (PMTAG) as a feedstock for preparation of polyols which can be used to prepare rigid and flexible polyurethane foams. PMTAG is advantageous over its precursor feedstock, palm oil, for synthesizing polyols, especially for the preparation of rigid foams, because of the reduction of dangling chain effects associated with the omega unsaturated fatty acids. 1-butene cross metathesis results in shortening of the unsaturated fatty acid moieties, with approximately half of the unsaturated fatty acids assuming terminal double bonds. It was shown that the associated terminal OH groups introduced through epoxidation and hydroxylation result in rigid foams with a compressive strength approximately 2.5 times higher than that of rigid foams from palm and soybean oil polyols. Up to 1.5 times improvement in the compressive strength value of the rigid foams from the PMTAG polyol was further obtained following dry and/or solvent assisted fractionation of PMTAG in order to reduce the dangling chain effects associated with the saturated components of the PMTAG. Flexible foams with excellent recovery was achieved from the polyols of PMTAG and the high olein fraction of PMTAG indicating that these bio-derived polyurethane foams may be suitable for flexible foam applications. PMTAG polyols with controlled OH values prepared via an optimized green solvent free synthetic strategy provided flexible foams with lower compressive strength and higher recovery; i.e., better flexible foam potential compared to the PMTAG derived foams with non-controlled OH values. Overall, this study has revealed that the dangling chain issues of vegetable oils can be addressed in part using appropriate chemical and physical modification techniques such as cross metathesis and fractionation, respectively. In fact, the rigidity and the compressive strength of the polyurethane foams were in very close agreement with the percentage of terminal hydroxyl and OH value of the polyol. The results obtained from the study can be used to convert PMTAG like materials into industrially valuable materials. Author Keywords: Compressive Strength, Cross Metathesis, Fractionation, Polyols, Polyurethane Foams, Vegetable Oils
Novel Aliphatic Lipid-Based Diesters for use in Lubricant Formulations
Structure-property relationships are increasingly valued for the identification of specifically engineered materials with properties optimized for targeted application(s). In this work, linear and branched diesters for use in lubricant formulations are prepared from lipid-based oleochemicals and their structure-property relationships reported. It is shown that the branched diesters possess exceptional physical property profiles, including suppression of crystallization, and are superior alternatives for use in lubricant formulations. For the linear aliphatic diesters, both high and low temperature properties were predictable functions of total chain length, and both were differently influenced by the fatty acid versus diol chain length. Symmetry did not influence either, although thermal stability decreased and thermal transition temperatures increased with increasing saturation. All of the linear diesters demonstrated Newtonian flow behaviour. Viscosity was also predictable as a function of total chain length; any microstructural features due to structural effects were superseded by mass effects. Author Keywords: Crystallization, Phase behaviour, Rheology, Structure-Function, Thermogravimetric analysis, Vegetable Oils
Mitigating Cold Flow Problems of Biodiesel
The present thesis explores the cold flow properties of biodiesel and the effect of vegetable oil derived compounds on the crystallization path as well as the mechanisms at play at different stages and length scales. Model systems including triacylglycerol (TAG) oils and their derivatives, and a polymer were tested with biodiesel. The goal was to acquire the fundamental knowledge that would help design cold flow improver (CFI) additives that would address effectively and simultaneously the flow problems of biodiesel, particularly the cloud point (CP) and pour point (PP). The compounds were revealed to be fundamentally vegetable oil crystallization modifiers (VOCM) and the polymer was confirmed to be a pour point depressant (PPD). The results obtained with the VOCMs indicate that two cis-unsaturated moieties combined with a trans-/saturated fatty acid is a critical structural architecture for depressing the crystallization onset by a mechanism wherein while the straight chain promotes a first packing with the linear saturated FAMEs, the kinked moieties prevent further crystallization. The study of model binary systems made of a VOCM and a saturated FAME with DSC, XRD and PLM provided a complete phase diagram including the thermal transformation lines, crystal structure and microstructure that impact the phase composition along the different crystallization stages, and elicited the competing effects of molecular mass, chain length mismatch and isomerism. The liquid-solid boundary is discussed in light of a simple thermodynamic model based on the Hildebrand equation and pair interactions. In order to test for synergies, the PP and CP of a biodiesel (Soy1500) supplemented with several VOCM and PLMA binary cocktails were measured using a specially designed method inspired by ASTM standards. The results were impressive, the combination of additives depressed CP and PP better than any single additive. The PLM and DSC results suggest that the cocktail additives are most effective when the right molecular structure and optimal concentration are provided. The cocktail mixture achieves then tiny crystals that are prevented from aggregating for an extended temperature range. The results of the study can be directly used for the design of functional and economical CFI from vegetable oils and their derivatives. Author Keywords: Biodiesel, Microstructure, Polymorphism, Pour point depressants, Triacylglycerol, Vegetable Oil Based Crystal Modifier
Novel Functional Materials From Renewable Lipids
Vegetable oils represent an ideal and renewable feedstock for the synthesis of a variety of functional materials. However, without financial incentive or unique applications motivating a switch, commercial products continue to be manufactured from petrochemical resources. Two different families of high value, functional materials synthesized from vegetable oils were studied. These materials demonstrate superior and unique performance to comparable petrochemical analogues currently on the market. In the first approach, 3 amphiphilic thermoplastic polytriazoles with differing lipophilic segment lengths were synthesized in a polymerization process without solvents or catalysts. Investigation of monomer structure influence on the resultant functional behaviour of these polymers found distinctive odd/even behaviour reliant on the number of carbon atoms in the monomers. Higher concentrations of triazole groups, due to shorter CH2 chains in the monomeric dialkynes, resulted in more brittle polymers, displaying higher tensile strengths but reduced elongation to break characteristics. These polymers had similar properties to commercial petroleum derived thermoplastics. One polymer demonstrated self-assembled surface microstructuring, and displayed hydrophobic properties. Antimicrobial efficacy of the polymers were tested by applying concentrated bacterial solutions to the surfaces, and near complete inhibition was demonstrated after 4 hours. Scanning electron microscope images of killed bacteria showed extensive membrane damage, consistent with the observed impact of other amphiphilic compounds in literature. These polytriazoles are suited for applications in medical devices and implants, where major concerns over antibiotic resistance are prevalent. In the second approach, a series of symmetric, saturated diester phase change materials (PCMs) were also synthesized with superior latent heat values compared to commercial petrochemical analogues. These diesters exhibit melting temperatures between 39 °C and 77 °C, with latent heats greater than 220 J/g; much greater than paraffin waxes, which are currently the industry standard. Assessment of the trends between differing monomer lengths, in terms of number of CH2 groups of the 24 diesters synthesized exhibited structure/function dependencies in latent heat values and phase change temperatures, providing an understanding of the influence of each monomer on PCM thermal properties. A synthetic procedure was developed to produce these PCMs from a low value biodiesel feedstock. Application of these PCMs in the thermoregulation of hot beverages was demonstrated using a representative diester. This PCM cooled a freshly brewed hot beverage to a desired temperature within 1 minute, compared to 18 minutes required for the control. Furthermore, the PCM kept the beverage within the desired temperature range for 235 minutes, 40 % longer than the control. Author Keywords: Antimicrobial Surface, Click Chemistry, Green Chemistry, Phase Change Material, Polytriazole, Renewable

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