Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Brian Mosby

Committee Member

Dr. Ellane Park

Committee Member

Dr. Pedro Bernal


The improvement of nanofiller integration can allow reactivity of layers to achieve new applications. To investigate, Zirconium phosphate, a layered inorganic material, was functionalized and observed within a polystyrene matrix to create polymer nanocomposites. Reactive phosphate sites facilitated the addition of organic molecules in the form of epoxides to assist polymer integration. The surface layers of ZrP were functionalized with styrene oxide and 1,2-epoxyoctodecane. After synthesis, these materials were characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to confirm the presence of the organic modifiers and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to determine the amount of organic modification. The inorganic particles were dispersed in a polystyrene polymer system to create a nanocomposite. The technique of ultraviolet visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis) was used to measure the dispersion of functionalized particles within the polymer matrix. The examination of surface functionalization and the polymer-particle interactions are significant in understanding the fundamentals of composite properties. In the future, fully functionalized nanoparticles may also be analyzed and compared to show the comparison to typical synthesis techniques. Successful integration of inorganic layer materials without sacrificing interlayer chemistry can revolutionize the synthesis and applications of polymer nanocomposites.