2020 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award - 2nd Place
Synthesis of High-Performance UV-Curable Crosslinked Coating Films via Grafting of HEMA Functionalized Methylene Malonate

Presenter: Mengfei Huang, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Abstract Authors: 
Mengfei Huang; Yuan Liu; John Klier; Jessica Schiffman
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Novel methylene malonate (MM) monomers can be synthesized economically from petro-based or renewable feedstocks. Interestingly, they undergo reactive anionic polymerization in an aqueous ambient environment. This attribute provides a powerful and simple new approach to enhance the properties of emulsion polymers, waterborne coatings and related applications that would benefit from greener chemistries. In this work, we have demonstrated the direct emulsion polymerization of MM in aqueous solutions at various pH values and functional groups. Polymerization was also readily initiated from latex particle surfaces. This strategy was employed to introduce high functional group densities to the latex particles, providing attributes, such as ultraviolet (UV) crosslinking, free radical crosslinking, and mechanical properties to the latexes and coatings derived therefrom. Systematic studies were conducted on the UV curing of methacrylate functionalized latex films to determine their thermal properties, mechanical strength, crosslinking density, and chemical composition. Rapid UV curing and high crosslinking densities enabled the synthesis of high-performance coatings based on a very simple in-situ latex modification. This study provides a simple, new, in-situ and readily scalable chemistry and methodology to significantly enhance the performance of emulsion polymers, latex systems and coatings.


About Mengfei Huang
Mengfei Huang is a sixth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research is mainly focused on the development of functional polymer coatings and novel crosslinking strategies, including UV-curable high-performance coatings, inorganic and organic nanoparticle encapsulation, novel emulsion polymers and the synthesis of room-temperature cold-sprayable powder coatings.