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Surface Modification with Polymers for Biomedical and Desalination Applications


Hospital acquired infections lead to an increase in medical complications costing lives and billions of dollars every year. Medical implants account for the majority of these infections due to biofilm growth on implant surfaces which have proven highly difficult to eradicate with antibiotics. Here we present a preventative polymeric coating designed to easily modify biomedical surfaces, thus limiting the attachment of bacteria and growth of biofilms on these surfaces. The polymer was used to modify a number of relevant biomaterials, most notably poly-dimethyl siloxane (PDMS), showing increased hydrophilicity and thus reduced bacterial adhesion. The hydrophilic coating was durable and maintained effectiveness longer than traditional modifications such as plasma coating. Cell culture experiments confirmed that the coating resists bacterial adhesion.

In the second chapter of this thesis we introduce a novel synthesis for a triazole polymer (PTA) used for water desalination. Thin film composite membranes continue to be the leading technology for water desalination, however the current membrane material of choice, polyamide, is extremely chlorine sensitive. Triazoles are C-H donors and thus capture chlorine. Utilizing this polymer and a new technique for membrane fabrication dubbed thin film lift off (TFLO), we created a new polymeric membrane with 1, 4 triazoles as the active layer. This polymer utilizes 1,4 triazoles which have been shown to stabilize chlorine. By incorporating these functional groups into a polymer, we fabricated a chlorine tolerant reverse osmosis membrane with a measured salt rejection of 92%.

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