(306i) Ultra-High Performance Polymers Meet Ionic Liquids

Bara, J. E., University of Alabama
Mittenthal, M., University of Alabama
O'Harra, K., University of Alabama
Durbin, M. M., University of Alabama
Dennis, G. P., University of Alabama
Jackson, E. M., NASA - Marshall Space Flight Center
High-performance (HP) and ultra-high-performance (UHP) polymers represent important and valuable classes of materials for use in demanding applications where thermal, mechanical and/or chemical stresses preclude the use of commodity and mid-range polymers. UHP/HP polymers also provide high strength-to-weight ratios that allow them to be used in place of metals and ceramics, which can reduce weight (and increase fuel economy) in automotive and aerospace applications, which will be important for greenhouse gas reductions and planned missions to Mars. Expanding the types of UHP/HP polymers that can be used in additive manufacturing (3-D printing) is also a critical need as material selection is limited and very few printers support UHP/HP polymers. Simultaneously, interest in polymers that are based upon, derived from and/or able to interface with ionic liquids (ILs) has significantly accelerated in recent years. However, almost all of these “poly(IL)” materials are produced via free radical polymerizations yielding polyolefin backbones with pendant cations. Ionenes are an analogous class of ionic polymers wherein ammonium (or similar) cations reside in the backbone rather than as pendants. Yet, nearly all ionenes have been built with long alkyl chains linking cations and lack robust thermal, mechanical and chemical properties. Here, we take a step forward in expanding the chemistry, properties and applications of UHP/HP polymers by building ionic UHP/HP polymers and composites containing ionic liquids (ILs), performing associated characterizations of structure-property relationships and demonstrating the utility of these unprecedented materials for 3-D printing.